11 December 2012

The Quiet Car

Living in this little corner of New England now makes getting into New York City a different experience.  When we lived in Chicago, I was the King of the Same-Day Turn (6AM Theater of Cruelty Non-Stop to LGA on Mother United with a 6PM-ish, depending on the rage of Mother Nature and the angry ones at the FAA, return back to ORD). With NYC just about 125 miles away, no more flying is required, but I don't like driving into Midtown if I don't have to so I'm all about, wait for it, Amtrak. Say what you will about this government-owned operation, I'm digging them.

Aside from the cluster that is Penn Station, I am a total fan of the Amtrak now. And I'm an even bigger fan of the Quiet Car.  The what, you ask? It's a designated car on the train that is free from ringing cell phones and inane conversation. It's a quiet slice of heaven. It's also self-policed by those riding in that car.  Pity the fool who decides to start yammering into his cell phone about the latest deal he closed and how ridiculous his boss is. He'll very shortly be told to shut his yap (the politeness of this request depends solely on the obnoxiousness of the conversation being conducted on the phone) by one or more of his fellow passengers. Ignoring this rule is not to taken lightly.

What I enjoy most about the Quiet Car (QC) is that it is indeed quiet.  My ride is about three hours in each direction and when I score a seat in the QC, that time is mine to read, to think, and to just enjoy the quiet.  It's never library quiet as the trains aren't exactly "Whisperliners," but it's quiet enough to recognize how nice it is to have that, well, quiet.

There's a lot to be said for some periods of silence, for reflection, and simply, some time out.  I find I get that in the QC and I appreciate that. I'm sure it's a sign of my getting older that I relish that time, but I can't help it. There is so much distraction in the world and it's nice to have put some of that away, even if for just a few hours. So I'll continue to take advantage of rides in the Quiet Car whenever I can.

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