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October 27, 2006

600 volts

Trainhopping

Where are you heading in the this rain?

I'm going to hop a train.

There's no passenger train comes by here.

Who said anything about a passenger train? I'm going freight.

Right.

Watch me. And I only stand there a minute before a train comes by.

I hear the clanging of the bells at the crossing. My heart races as I step out into the rain. The first one blows by fast and never slows down. I walk to the depot, built in 1899, and sit beneath the overhang.

I'm just waiting around, sitting there, thinking, this sucks. And even if one comes by I won't be able to hop on it. I have all this crap on my back. Laptop, camera, long lens. A bottle of wine. Just so much baggage that I'll never ever make it onto a moving train. I'll be pulled beneath the wheels and severed in half in front of my office. They'll all run out gawking to see me flipping around in two pieces like a piece of neatly cut bait.

Then, I hear the train siren a long way off and I walk to the end of the depot. I'm standing there next to a rusting broken forklift and a truck that was clearly hit by a train. And, I wait and wait and wait, and finally hear it again, and I see it, and it's going slow. Realllll slow and my heart races and I think....this is it. I can get on this one sure nuff. But now it's backing away from me so I walk toward it in the rain.

I walk about 4 blocks in the light october tennessee mist and I see a RR truck and a man and he must be operating the switch and I see the train has moved onto a side track and now the engineer is getting off the train. He's not wearing a funny hat or anything just like a normal guy. And the two of them are standing there chewing the fat and they actually turn their backs to me and I'm walking toward them, but I cross the tracks so the'll be on the other side of the train from me and they won't have to challenge me.

And, I walk to the second engine (there are only two) and I'm watching the two men as best I can from the corner of my eye and I climb up on the second engine and open the door. I duck and swing inside and quietly close the door behind me and this is nuts. I mean really nuts.

My mouth goes dry and this is illegal and dangerous and I don't know what all else and I'm expecting someone to stick their head in at any second and say “What in the hell do you think you're doing, boy??

But, I suppose that you know by now that I'm stuck in Tennessee this weekend and that my little friend crawfished on me for this evening. No one should be surprised by that. I certainly wasn't. Disappointed? Sure. Surprised. Never.

But no one comes in after me and I'm just sitting here on this black mat. And it's the same black mat my dad's old white falcon had on the floorboards if I recall correctly. So, I'm sitting here on the floor of this CSX diesel locomotive, leaning against a big panel liberally covered in red signs that say DANGER 600 VOLTS and DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE in very large font, and I figure we're on a side track waiting for another train to pass and I can hear the lead engine idling and hissing and belching pressurized air at odd intervals and then this train comes roaring up past us.

And it's loud and steel and very cool. It sounds great and I want this adventure to begin. I want that train to go by so we can get rolling and I hope no-one sticks there head into the second engine and I know nothing about trains. Don't know if they need to be in this engine or not but if he comes in here it isn't like he'd miss me. I'm 6'2? and I'm sitting here with about five or eight thousand dollars worth of electronics and it's gonna be real hard trying to convince him I'm just a typical hobo. That's gonna be a real hard sell. They'll probably ship me down to gitmo if they catch me and maybe if I were in their shoes I'd do the same thing. Who can tell.

But that train went by and we're still just sitting here and I want to get rolling. Big time. So let's go already. Until we get rolling, I really haven't accomplished very much I figure. If they run me out at this point than the story isn't very good, is it? I want to be rolling down the rails shooting some frames from the train.

And I don't know that this train isn't spending the night here. I have no clue what happens next but riding in the dark will suck but it's only 3:32 and I'm not getting off any time soon I know that. It's certainly more exciting sitting here than in the office. So, there's that.

And now I hear another train coming from behind me and it blows by loud and fast. As in way loud and way fast And this time I snap a few shots and it's gone. Now maybe we'll get rolling? 3:37


And now I hear another train coming from behind me and it blows by loud and fast. As in way loud and way fast And this time I snap a few shots and it's gone. Now maybe we'll get rolling? 3:37

I want to go now and every hiss teases me, *****censored****** and I'm like Let's go already. Come on already. Stop hissing around and let's get this iron horse rolling for god's sake. I don't mind the waiting, it's just that I don't know if we're going anywhere at all. Maybe I'm wasting my time.

My pink cell phone rings while I'm on this stupid train and it's some housewife down at the play and she wants to know what I want for my dinner play and I'm like...ah...what are the options?

“Chicken cordon bleu, Wild Pacific Salmon, or Pork Chops?

“Barf!?

“Excuse me??

“I could never eat anything with eyes. I'm going to have to cancel our reservations.?

Posted by Peenie Wallie on October 27, 2006 at 2:38 PM

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