Thursday, November 23, 2006

in the quiet car

It's an Amtrak headed home toward DC and I've just sat down in the quiet car. My iPod is on and Kirk just ended a guitar solo. Digging through my backpack, I find the book I've been "finishing" for the last three weeks -- now is the perfect time.

The train is pretty full and there's a well dressed girl sitting in the row across from me. There's a Tiffanytm bracelet on her wrist and pearl earrings in her ears. Everything about her seems to be so meticulously manicured, so perfectly performed.

There's a guy sitting next to her, probably captain of the lacrosse team. Christ, he's even got blonde hair and blue eyes. I'm choking on cliche at this point.

Trying to distract myself, I notice that the holes in my jeans have gotten bigger; it's verging on indecent exposure. Maybe mom is right, maybe it's time to buy new ones. But oh well, back to the book, there's another hundred pages ahead.

Go, shorty
It's your birthday
We gon' party like it's your birthday


Her ringtone.

I thought this was the quiet car.

She tears through her purse to find it.

"Yes? --"

A conductor interrupts her.

"This is the quiet car! Take that phone, your stuff, and move to another car right now!"

It seemed a bit excessive, but it's not like she didn't know what car she was getting into.

She looks up at him with the same eyes she probably uses on her dad whenever she needs to explain away some exorbitant credit card bills.

It's not clear if she's talking to him or the phone.

"OK."

Her boyfriend isn't much help.

"The rules apply to you, just like everyone else."

She's not listening; she tells her Nokia "I need to call you back, Daddy."

With that, the flips the phone shut and he walks away triumphantly.

A limp hand reaches across the seat to meet her boyfriend's.

"They had to rush her into surgery. I didn't get to say goodbye."

4 comments:

Garrett said...

(looks around)

Am I supposed to say 'Isn't it nice when bad things happen to beautiful people'?

(looks around)

No, I wouldn't feel bad about having her shut up either. Hello, voicemail, nice to meet you. How have you been?

shoa said...

Alexis this entry is so powerful. You are so troubled and deep and profound.

Thank you for revealing the truth about train rides in the quiet cars. Yours is a refreshing voice that is not afraid of being boldly honest.

Hunter said...

If I were her, I would have left the quiet car to talk if it was that important. Or tell the conductor to shove it and explain later.

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