Wednesday, July 18, 2018
A good Amtrak Commercial. Don't worry, this won't be a trend.
Back in the 1980s I was a student at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and at least once each year I used Amtrak to travel home to Vermont for vacation. I always traveled coach, and back then Amtrak not only didn't offer WiFi but it wasn't even really great at consistent lighting- if you traveled at night and tried to read you could expect to have the lights go on and off as the rickety train rolled up and down the Northeast Corridor- which means that unless you liked arriving at your destination with an upset stomach and headache, you probably didn't try to read.
And because it was the 1980s, you didn't yak away on your cellphone and neither did anyone else because hey, no cellphones. You were pretty much out of touch with the world while you were on that train. And oddly enough, this was ok.
During one trip- I think it was around Christmas- I was sitting in my seat on the train to Vermont when a young woman my age asked to sit next to me. She introduced herself and we ended up talking for hours. At one point she fell asleep on my shoulder while using my headphones (oh yeah, we had Walkmans so we had headphones.) We said goodbye when I exited the train at Montpelier- she was going on to Montreal. I never saw her again, though we did write for a while. Her name was Astrid.
Anyway, I don't have a problem with this Amtrak commercial at all. It looks like these kids are doing what I did on a regular basis almost forty years ago- taking a train home during a break in classes because it's still cheaper than an airplane ticket and can actually be kind of fun if you know how to relax and watch the scenery and enjoy being with fellow human beings. I don't even mind the selfies, because they aren't being obnoxious about it. I also like that they aren't constantly on those phones but are actually doing things like talking, daydreaming, taking in the scenery and napping. It's actually pretty cool.
Ok, back to being a curmudgeon next time. I promise.