Friday, June 23, 2006

C'mon Ride the Train

Edited after getting more sleep.

We had our first train adventure! As SwingDaddy mentioned, Nanny J suggested taking advantage of the Spare the Air Day's free Caltrain access. My last morning meeting cancelled, so instead of a lunch break, we took Q to the nearest station and waited for the Caltrain to pull in.

Q hung on tight as I climbed the winding stair to the second level of the train car and found empty seats. He was pretty nervous from the rumbling and bumping at first, but I convinced him to sit in my lap and Nanny J and I made train noises until he giggled. The view was good from our high-up seats, and we admired the world as it zipped by.

In a way, this was also a trip through my past. As we rode north on the tracks, we passed through three towns where I lived after graduation. I can remember standing on those station platforms in the dim early light and riding to the end of the line, 4th and Townsend, before boarding an express bus to the financial district. I loved the train. It meant that I didn't need to navigate the painful traffic and pay crazy parking fees. I could do a little work or nap. I think I daydreamed a lot, looking out the windows and wondering what was happening in a particular house or town.

Whenever I see a Caltrain roar by at night, the rows of oval windows look like strings of glowing beads, each highlighting a person with her own tale. I know I'll get a train into a story someday, although probably not as magically as J.K. Rowling did with the Hogwarts Express.

The three of us disembarked after about twenty minutes, and crossed over to the other side of the station. From the platform, you could see my old apartment and parking space. I used to be able to hear the train coming as I ran from my front door, knowing that I could just barely get there in time. The sounds of the train and the horn have a comforting sound, but I've never gotten used to the screeching sound of the brakes.

Q walked up and down the platform, and then we boarded for the ride home. He played peek-a-boo behind one of the seat backs, admired the bikes in the car below us, and made his own train noises. Just as he started to get squirmy, we arrived at our station, climbed down, and waved bye-bye to the train.

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