Brett Rants

Train Tracks

I recently took a cross country train trip. These are the tracks it left in my brain.

Image of Train Tracks, rails are from a bridge, going into Chicago on the Northwest Line
Same as the one next to it, only a few feet closer to chicago, showing a nexus of criss-crossing tracks
Two Tracks
Many More

The Big Idea

Often (almost always) when planning an adventure, I also endeavour to find a way to immortalize the journey. Thus, it was always an odds-on-bet that I would turn this train trip into some kind of post. And within a few hours of boarding, I'd come up with the basic framework. Actually, it was at supper that first evening. The conversation had turned to writing. And in an effort to describe my work (odd how in the moment, this rant doesn't seem much like my work to me), I transformed the scene before my dinner companions into how I might imagine it from within the pages of a story.
It was easy to see the characters from all the different tropes in the dining car, each at their separate tables, eating in groups, talking amongst themselves, and planning how they might engage in the adventure ahead. Of particular note was the crew from Pride & Prejudice arguing amongst themselves whether it would be more surreal for them to fight off Train Robbers or Renegade Indians come the 'morrow.
You know, stuff like that.

The Persistence of...

Perception is a tricky thing. These are the raw images (with no filter) taken out of the same train window only moments apart...

Some outskirts of Chicago, the previous were taken out of the front train window, there are taken out of the right side window going in
same bit of track, just a few moments later, film on plexiglass window must have caused the filter distortion

The Elf

The Elf that slept in the next bunk over was quite the delight. I knew she was an Elf because she had Blue Hair... or was it Green? OK. Even if I can't remember if it was Rainbowed Hued or Silver Sparkled (because it seemed to change from moment to moment), I think (all in all), sporting dyna-chromatic hair is reasonable enough proof that a girl is, in fact, an Elf... or at least, proof enough for me.
It was probably the staring. I know I stared. Such beauty. And when she opened her lips...

Some girls do nothing but gossip...

Most boys are banal...

But she... talked of the clouds, the setting sun, only moments later, cutting so smoothly to the heart of the chase, effortlessly seguing through the rising of the stars, as she guided the conversation towards her personal passion: Matrix Manipulation. One had to see the world through her eyes, of course, hold her hand, look into to her eyes, press lip against lip; and I must confess, I could not have told you whether she said the first thing that came into her head (as I, myself, so often do) or if she was practising a talk, long rehearsed, that she would soon be giving, perhaps again for the umpteenth time, to some weary graduate students back at university, as she blithely rambled on about Dynamic Nets of the magical variety, no less.

In the end, I had no doubt of her provenance... at least, not upon touching her skin; at which point, I was sure that she, herself, was most definitely of the magical variety...
See how some stories just seem to write themselves?


All trips must come to an end. But at a popular enough destination, the next train is always just around the corner.

Arlington Heights train station at night with a train pulling in
Same, only train is closer, I wonder how many folks get hit by trains every year, there really is no safety

The Dwarf

I had sat down next to him in the Observation Car... and soon got up to walk away. Some conversations are like that. Some never get started. But in the dining car, a glass of ale in his hand, and the man (er, that is to say, the dwarf of a man) came alive.
Quite the traveller, he had a story for it all, the time he'd raced motor cars, bred Arabian horses, lived here, travelled there; never a bore, quite inclusive of the crowd, I, myself, could only wonder at how another might find him a bore, but when my dinner companion slumped in her chair (Elves being what they are), he was quick in his ire.

'Sit up! And show some respect for yonder snow capped peaks!'

Slight the Dwarf, maybe.

But never shall an Elf be allowed to besmirch his much beloved mountains in word, action, or deed.
Or maybe it was swill that passed for wine that I was swishing about in my own mouth that made his tales of daring-do seem so compelling...

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Yeah, sure. Some of this I made up. But then, which part? And how can you be so sure...

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