Taking the Amtrak train back to school from a break is always a fascinating and beautiful experience. I people watch, as I so often do, and notice that college students chiefly occupy the seats surrounding me. Many of them are from my school who also happen to live in the general vicinity of the train station and will disembark at the same destination that I do. They are doing what college students/young whippersnappers do:
- Studying – very halfheartedly
- Sleeping – head down on those trays that come from the back of the seat in front of you, quite uncomfortable looking!
- Listening to music – loudly, and completely isolated
- Playing on their computers – like me!
- Texting – each and every one of them takes a break from whatever they are doing to check their phones at least every few minutes.
Others are older couples going I don’t know where, possibly to visit their grandchildren? They seem completely at home on a train, like they have ridden it since trains were invented (and maybe they have! Just kidding no one is still alive from 1800). The only exception is this one couple (probably in their 80’s) that completely disappeared within the first five minutes of sitting down. I kid you not, they got up and were gone and I’m not sure if I should be worried or not. Let us pray that they didn’t fall off the train…Amen.
But my absolute favorite passengers on the train are the people from Lancaster County. You know how you can tell where people are from just by the way they are dressed? Lancaster is one of those places, even though I’m sure it has normal people all over the county. There is an Amish family on the train, actually just a mother and a few kids, and the little girl is ADORABLE. She’s probably about 7 years old in her little handmade dress and bonnet and she has the bluest eyes ever. The little boy, with his stellar bowl cut (honestly one of the best that I’ve seen) is taking up two seats with his napping but no one cares because he is so damn cute. Oh and there is this guy dressed up like a cowboy. Stetson hat, boots and flannel shirt, he is straight out of a spaghetti western. I can’t think of any reason why he is dressed as such, but he’s so convincing that I don’t really care.
The few people around me that are particularly interesting include the guy next to me and the INSANE chick that is behind me. The guy next to me was studying what seemed to be advanced physics, but I can’t be for sure. I learned that he goes to Pitt and he is from New Jersey. Look at me, making friends on the train! Also he seems incredibly smart but sadly, not attractive. 😦 As for the crazy girl, who knows what’s going on with her. She keeps laughing loudly and singing off key. Now, I can’t see her, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say maybe she’s asleep? But then again she also yelled at someone for looking at her. Needless to say, I’m really glad I chose seat 22 instead of 24. Thank the lord!!
And lastly, the scenery. While I’m sure many people know that Pennsylvania has a gorgeous landscape, you’ve never really experienced it until you ride through a variety of counties in one afternoon. First was Harrisburg, right on the Susquehanna River, which was shining today with early October sun and autumn colors. And then, as the train travels up the river, there are cornfields, farmhouses and little towns and cities that all have the rustic, “been there forever” look about them. Interestingly enough, there are also abandoned mines, sketchy trailers on the river (that could easily house meth labs) and interesting rock formations in the river. Overall, it’s an interesting view of both the people and the places. The car is oddly dead quiet, except for the occasional maniacal laughter coming from behind me and I feel like typing is disturbing people. So I’ll say goodbye for now!
P.S. The train broke down, hence the extensive post because I just had so much free time that I have no idea what to do with, when truthfully, I should have been doing philosophy the whole time.