(This story took place on a stalled Amtrak train one hundred feet from Penn Station. Therefore, since the train didn’t get to New Jersey yet, I’m calling this a Manhattan story. Though, that can be argued about by those who say it’s not where you are that’s important – that’s just earth stuff – but where you’re going to end up. Heaven is on their minds. Most religions advocate this. But heaven wasn’t on my mind that day. And here’s the story to prove it.)
On Amtrak’s Regional Train – that’s the cheapest way to go – I sat in the Quiet Car. When Amtrak first came out with the idea, I thought it was an urban legend. I only believed it when it was explained that Amtrak was referring to the passengers and not their noisy engines and high-pitched loudspeakers. It means you can’t use a game boy, a computer, nor cell phone. Only the train and conductors can make noise, which they do by announcing over and over again that the train was sitting still. They claim it was due to the train ahead. They never blame their own train. They say they’re sorry for the inconvenience. But they never look sorry.
When the conductor took our tickets the Indian passenger sitting behind me complained about the guy yawning two seats back. He wanted the conductor to personally escort the yawning guy from the car. He said he had nothing against yawning. He does a lot himself, but always in the privacy of his home. He said the yawning would not be so bad in the other cars where it’ll get drowned out by cell phones.
The conductor told him this “quiet thing” was going a little too far. Next, people were going to complain about heavy breathing. If he threw the yawner out of the car, tomorrow’s headlines will read, “Conductor Fired for Harassing Yawner.” He’d lose his job.
Luckily, the yawner fell asleep, so it ceased to be a problem. The complainer was just waiting for him to snore, so he could lodge another complaint. He felt snoring would cause the conductor to act. But the yawner wasn’t a snorer. He slept like a baby. Meanwhile, the conductor was going back and forth through the aisles squashing out any conversations, saying no one in the Quiet Car was allowed to talk, except him. The job provided him with lots of sadistic pleasure.