Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Deep Thoughts from the Train

- Why do the doors between train cars fly open frequently while the train moves, but remain firmly shut when you are trying to push a suitcase through them?

- Why didn't the Italian birth rate drop earlier than it did? Harsh, but true: there are rude, loud, obnoxious, smoking teenagers everywhere. They're the only thing I've found that can ruin moments in Tuscany...and as I write this, there is a big crowd of them on the train with me.

- How does the Italian system work for eminent domain? These towns were obviously built well before trains were invented - whose house got bulldozed for this efficient public transportation system? I'll bet the Orange Coalition would like to hear about it...***sarcasm alert***

- Why am I never validated? Train tickets must be bought and correct trains must be boarded, but between the two steps, tickets must be validated. How hard could it possibly be? There are, after all, yellow validation machines in multiple places throughout the station. But, much like the Italian words for numbers, my mind just cannot grasp it. No matter how early I arrive for a train, I end up having last minute panic because I have to run to the end of the platform to validate.

- Why don't I always ride fancy trains? To arrive in Verona I must board the faster, sleeker trains - significantly different thatn the regionale trains I have taken so far. Your seat is reserved and there's no need to validate (hallelujah!) because, after all, itàs just that: YOUR ticket, that no one else could use so va bene, just climb on board. This train is high pressure - no slouching here! It's the nicest private jet I've ever been on, though it never leaves the ground. The doors open with motion sensors, the seats are padded; an electronic sign calmly greets you to Trenitalia. Most on board are ignorant of this train's relaxing qualities, however; the man across from me is in jeans but types frantically into his phone...across the aisle, a man in an expensive suit with perfectly-matched marroon leather belt and shoes frequently jumps up to pace in the aisle, talking on two phones at once. Their fretting makes me feel even more relaxed. I used to be one of them only two weeks ago, but haven't had a cell phone ring in days. My one moment of reaching for the phone made me laugh since it wasn't a phone buzzing at all, but my camera turning off and closing the lens. I can't be too critical since, after all, in another two weeks I'll have two Blackberries. Until then, however, I slide a little lower in my seat and begin to read another good book.

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