Fellow Train Travellers' Tales
Have done a lot travelling, and right now am really just glad to be home and working in the comfort of my study. But travelling is a boon to a writer, because the writers’ paradox is that while they are introverts, they need to meet people to gather material and inspiration.
Train travel is especially effective, for you can’t help but meet people. On Amtrak diners, the tables seat four, so they pair up couples. During our various train trips, we have inevitably been paired up with interesting people, and you get to know each other very quickly, for dining together has always been an inherently social activity. Most first dates are for dinner. The family that eats together stays together. (Well, so they say. Admittedly sometimes these dinner tables are battlegrounds, but again you still really get to know each other.)
I have a story forming in my head based on a recent dining car companion’s tale of dealing with airport security. He was an ex-army officer and made the mistake of pointing out the absurdity of everyone dumping his or her allegedly potential explosive liquids into a common container right at airport security! He used the B-word in explaining the danger of this and was promptly taken aside for interrogation. His description of the interrogation could have come from Heller’s Catch-22. And he eventually used the F-word to tell them what to do—and then refused to fly. My kind of guy, albeit with more cojones than I have!