Happy Halloween! Or Reformation Day, or just Sunday, depending on your preference...
So, in between no real wi-fi on the train (they “technically” offer it, but when you come right down to it, it always depends on how close your towers are, which is a big variable on a moving train) and no time/energy to compile my notes until now, it looks like my Chicago-trip chronicles will come all in a lump entry or two here at the end. That’s OK. It’s Sunday morning, and I’ve got a little time before everyone else wakes up for church, but anything I don’t get to now, I’ll cover on the train.
Today’s the day. Josh is late.
Well, he’s not actually late. He’s just not as early as I am, and taking longer about being ready. I’m trying to be patient, though. It wouldn’t be good to start this trip sniping.
I’m kind of surprised at myself with how remarkably unstructured (comparatively) I’ve left this. I know when our trains are – and where Abi’s house is – and generally how to get places – but I’ve hardly thought of all the logistical breakdowns. Possibly because I knew I’d have 5 hours on the train to think, but still.
Right now, Chicago plans are a vagueness of travel, friend time, some-schools-somewhere visits, and a bit of sightseeing somewhere maybe. This should be an interesting test of me and Josh’s traveling-together cooperativeness. A dry run for England.
Anyway, trying to keep everything remembered for my blog. So. It’s early, cold and gray outside. I’m pretending not to see Josh, in his gray coat, walking up the front of Mo. I’ll finish writing this, and then look up and see him for real, all at once.
…And here we are in the La Plata train station, with ancient tile, slat wooden benches, soft-voiced Mennonites in the corner and a fascinating collection of toy trains behind the ‘Employees Only’ sign. There’s a family with three little kids, too; two elementary-age boys and a little girl in a pink coat, maybe three years old. Also a guy about our age, looks familiar, like he might be from Truman, or Kirksville at least.
Our train’s been delayed, so instead of 955 we’ll be leaving at 1130, maybe. A couple of people didn’t take this news too well, and left to get food and things like that. Josh and I got dropped off, though, so we’re stuck. It was a little after 9 when we got here. Brad allowed himself to be prevailed upon to drive us.
Not a whole lot else to say until the train gets here, really. Josh is reading LotR, as usual…will have to find some way to entertain myself.
When the train starts moving, it’s a weird, weightless feeling, almost exactly like the feeling you get right before fainting. We’re on the second (floor? Story?), so we’re so far away from the wheels that you can hardly feel them except on the bumpy parts. I like trains. They’d be a terrible choice if you really wanted to get anywhere fast, but this way of seeing everything as you ride, people-watching, swaying and rolling like I’d imagine the deck of a ship…I like it.
Josh and I are in coach, of course, with the family of kids we waited with in the La Plata station. Behind us on the train are more and more coach cabins, mostly with sleeping people, last time I checked, and ahead of us are the lounge and dining cars. The first-class people are somewhere below us, as are the bathrooms and nothing else that I was able to poke my nose into while I was out exploring. The seats are a lot like the ones you get on airplanes, only with tons more legroom.
Let’s see…our train was about two hours late, so we didn’t leave La Plata until ten minutes after noon. We’ve been slow and stopped, it seems, rather often, and should arrive in Chicago between five and six, by my estimate. Probably could have driven faster than this. But we weren’t in this for speed.
Once we arrive in Union Station in Chicago, there’ll be an interesting adventure to find and get on the proper bus. We’re supposed to take the brown line, and I know which station to stop at, and obviously the bus stops at the Amtrak station, so in theory it’ll only be a matter of finding the right terminal or whatever. Doesn’t change the fact that neither of us has been there before, though. Hopefully everything will be okay. I’m glad we didn’t try to plan anything to do this evening.
I’ll try and write more before bed, to update on how everything goes. Or maybe I’ll just fall into bed tonight (highly likely) and write in the morning.
Traveling-Work To-Dos for this Weekend:
-read The Caucasian Chalk Circle and have handout stuff worked out for my presentation in Hist & Lit Monday
-come up with a plan for Alice collages, plus some manner of outline for that paper
-Hobbit plans? Maybe?
-Let’s be realistic. I’ll be doing well to get that much done. Still need to come up with a list of smart questions to ask at the grad schools…
An interesting scrap of thought, off the top of my brain when I woke up this morning: sometimes I can be very simpleminded about things. Like the issue of influence between friends – I feel awfully remedial about it, but I don’t really know how that works subtly, I only know how it works like a hammer or how it doesn’t work at all. I wish I could learn better. Seems like I’ve been realizing a lot, lately, about how little I understand, about interpersonal relationships.
Here at Abi’s house, she lives (as usual) in a happy jumble of community and service that I can (most of the time) only stand in awe of. After she picked me and Josh up from the el station, we met Emily, her high-school friend, and drove to her house in the suburbs (somewhere north of here…it was dark, mind you, but the area seemed very Ladue) for dinner. Her parents treated us all to takeout from P.F. Chang’s, which, especially considering how starved Josh and I were, was utterly fantastic. Then we watched the entirely ridiculous but nevertheless fun Prince of Persia, got back to Abi’s quite late, and went to bed.
We also met Tundai – whose name probably isn’t spelled like that – who just became an American citizen today. He’s asleep on the couch.
In other news, there are cats crying outside my window. Seriously. I have never heard that noise come out of a cat before; they sound like bratty children. And then every few minutes, it sounds like one of them attacks the other, and in the dry leaves, it’s terrifying.
Abi lent me her bed while I’m here. It is lovely and incredibly soft and warm, and when the sun comes through the long white curtains in the morning, I can pretend I’m one of those blissful people in the sleeping-aid commercials.
Agh. Stupid cats. Okay, time to move. Busy day today, just as soon as Josh and I figure out precisely what we’re doing. We talked about planning our school visits last night, but as tired as we were…yeah, that didn’t happen.
(That’s it for the notes I’ve already written down. Next should be the story of Saturday: DePaul, Columbia, Michigan Street, the beach, Navy Pier, deep-dish pizza, and why I love love love love love public transit. Until then!)