Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ridin' that train...

Yesterday began and ended on a train. I started the day on the Acela Express from Boston to New York. (I'd gone to Boston for a couple days on a business trip for my day job.) The Acela Express is a lovely train. It travels from South Station (Boston) to Penn Station (NYC) in 3.5 hours. The conductors are cheerful and make witty comments over the intercom. Sometimes they dance through the aisles and do backflips as they serve hot chocolate and, comfortingly, they all look like Tom Hanks...


In New York, I attended a reading at the KGB Bar, part of the Fantastic Fiction Series hosted by Ellen Datlow and Gavin Grant. This was my first time attending -- Delia Sherman introduced me to it -- and I had a great time listening to the readings, chatting with various people, and then eating yummy Chinese food. I even made it into one of Ellen's pictures! Well, more accurately, I'm in the background on the left, appearing totally oblivious to the presence of a camera...

Dinner ended exactly at 10pm, perfectly timed for me to catch the 10:37 train home. While I normally love the LIRR because it lets me read lots of books on the ride home, it is not a fast train. The conductors,
while usually cheerful, do not make witty comments over the intercom -- or if they do, I can't understand them because they sound like when grown-ups talk in Charlie Brown cartoons. I have also never seen them dance through aisles with hot chocolate, though it's possible a few of them look like Tom Hanks...

Last night, the train stopped in Huntington. Normally, this is not a problem since it's actually supposed to stop at Huntington. It's what they call in train lingo "a stop." But it's supposed to stop in Huntington for five minutes. This train stopped for much, much longer. And that's when I discovered the other difference between the Acela Express and the LIRR: the LIRR does not have bathrooms...



Eventually, the train left, and Tom Hanks told us in his Charlie Brown voice that there was a broken rail at one of the stops ahead. Apparently, when it's cold, sometimes the rails split apart. Last night, it was freezing and the rails split apart. Seems like a rather serious design flaw to me, but hey, what do I know. Anyway, I eventually made it home and to the bathroom, which makes this anecdote rather anticlimactic. (But really, if I hadn't, and I'd peed myself right there on the train, you probably wouldn't have wanted to hear about it!) But just in case you feel shortchanged, now I'm going to tell you about the deer.

I never met the deer. He wasn't on my train. But he, like me, was trying to get home, and he, like me, was delayed by cold weather. CNN reported that a deer was trapped on an icy pond today...


Not a cartoon deer. A real deer. And he didn't have a perky rabbit to teach him how to skate. Instead, a helicopter blew him across the ice to safety with the wind from its propellers.

Seriously. Picture that. (If you can't, here's a link to a video of it.)

Can you imagine the "what did you do today?" conversation at dinner? No, not the pilot's conversation. I mean the deer's. "I was trotting along, sniffing for grass, and all of a sudden, a fat metal bird created a magic wind that blew me to the other side of the river! It took me hours to get back to the right side." And his mom would say, "That's the worst excuse for missing curfew that I've ever heard."

Maybe the helicopter incident will become part of deer folklore... Once upon a time, a deer was caught on an icy pond... Or, ooh, maybe it will be a cautionary tale that mommy-deer tell to their baby-deer: don't eat poison ivy, watch out for rattlesnakes, and be kind to helicopters...

Anyway, I think it's nice that both the deer and I made it home.

On a totally unrelated note, here's a link to my very first blog interview, conducted by kidlit-blogger-extraordinaire, Jen Robinson. The grand poobas of the Cybil awards have been posting interviews of some of the judges on the Cybils website. Mine went online this morning. So cool! And don't worry, I say nothing about trains, helicopters, or deer in the interview. Promise.

2 Comments:

At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Jen Robinson said...

Thanks for the interview! Glad you liked the results.

 
At 11:12 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Thank YOU for the interview, Jen! You did a great job with it. I love the post you put together.

 

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