Monday, October 18, 2010

The things you hear...

As the train rolled towards San Jose on Thursday, it rolled to a stop. I and others were already standing by the door ready to disembark. It was too early (I wake up slow) to wonder why we were no longer moving. I was prepared to wait till we finally reached the platform, till someone said what was going (or not going) on, till all would be revealed.

"Ladies and gentlemen," came the announcement, "we are holding here at a signal while trains cross in front of us. Federal law prohibits us from running through a red signal and crashing into another train." Hooray for Federal Law, not to mention common sense.

Sure enough a second train pulls level with us two tracks over and a third, heading north, slips neatly between us. Would that all of life ran so well on rails.


Two weekends ago we were at a wedding in Kansas City. The bride's mother, Jane, is a very great friend (as is her husband, the bride's father). Jane introduced me to her two sisters. "He tweets in haiku," she said.

I smiled and made my usual excuse that I don't live so exciting a life that I could tweet with any regularity, so I had given myself the challenge of tweeting only (by and large) in haiku.

"And you feel the need to tweet, do you?" asked one of the sisters. There really isn't a good answer to that.


This evening we were at our "occasion" restaurant for dinner. Excellent food, our usual table by the fire, friendly and knowledgable servers. At the table just over the divider from ours sat a character for my NaNoWriMo novel this year. This woman could talk. She had a dinner companion who served as a sounding board, an occasional monologue spur (she might have regarded it as conversation), a jumping-off point.

"Oh, your calamari didn't come with tartare sauce. Please? We need some tartare sauce here." And then, "Did you want tartare sauce?"

"I know you don't like to do gifts and such but, I just had to get her this from you. It's just like that little Coach purse I have. You know it, don't you?"

And, for me the most perfect...

"How can I not know that name? Is this a trick question?"

I am sure I shouldn't have been listening, but it was all too good to pass up.

Finally - Happy Birthday Dick.


  1. I love the conductor's announcement! And I'm glad you could be fascinated by the lady in the restaurant, even building a NaNo character from her...I would have wanted to gag her. :)

  2. Yes, the conductors on CalTrain have a wry sense of humor - shuttling up and down the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose probably lends itself to developing one.

    As to gagging the conversationalist over the divider from our table - I was displaying my best manners at the time. Otherwise... :D

  3. Love this post. Especially: "And you feel the need to tweet, do you?" asked one of the sisters. There really isn't a good answer to that.

    You're absolutely right. No good answer to that.

  4. Thanks, Tim, for your comment. For weeks now I've been trying to come up with a good answer - and it just ain't there. :)

    Glad you enjoyed the post.

  5. Ah, there is inspiration all around us if only we take the time to see and hear. You always do, and it shows in your writing.

    Congrats to the happy couple. I'm in a hotel room right now waiting for the wedding time to roll around for my sister. Mom would be so pleased.

    Yeah for Federal regulations.

  6. Thanks Jon for the comment. Best wishes to your sister and congratulations to her spouse.