here we are on day two with a blank brain. I am not sure for the reason why and I am really not going to spend all that much time lamenting the why. meditation went well, but when I sat down to really think…kaput….it isn’t that there is a shortage of work to get done, but rather, there is something about starting the day off and failing 100 times before most people get out of bed that sets the pace for the day. now I sit typing, after a most uneventful brainstorm. it feels like you are out in the middle of a rural town at the train station waiting for a train, but that train has been delayed for hours. it is that feeling after you have explored all there was to see in the local area and you just sit down and have to make peace with waiting until whenever the train shows up.
I had such an experience in Lamy, New Mexico when I thought it would be fun to take a train to Chicago for a trade show. It certainly was an interesting trip…was that the one where a drunken lady tried to fight the entire train car? yes, it was, and for whatever reason, I got to add “train bouncer” to my resume. at least she didn’t get redlined like the might do on a circus train.
what is redlining? it is the term for someone doing something so bad to a member of the show or crew that they don’t even bother slowing the train down to eject the person and their baggage. whether this is true, or the stuff of lore, I do not know. what I do remember is it took all I had inside myself not to go after this person who was drunk and belligerent – yet – the complication was her mom with dementia was wandering around trying to get out the moving train. it was a sad scene all around. I often wonder how you explain to a judge why you got thrown off a train.
on the return, the conductor remembered me and apologized. when I asked, “is this common for people to get tossed?” he replied, “yes, it was more common than one would think. he replied at that particular stop, he felt like the cops just waited for the train anymore as someone was kicked off.”
but please do not let that detract anyone from taking the train from Chicago west. it is so much nicer than driving, and while not as fast as the plane, you get to see things that are not simply a highway with the same chain fast food stops interspersed at exits. you sit and watch the united states go by in a way that is more like reading a book and wondering what the history of all the land was. I think I like the train for traveling the most. I am trying to remember when I didn’t simply sit in the observation car the entire time watching out the windows. the other favorite spot was looking out the back of the train window as the train whizzed by the tracks.
in the rest of the world, a lot of it has wonderful train systems. for example, the Swiss train system makes it almost as if you don't’ really need a car. the cars are clean, equipment maintained and the schedule fairly orderly. the only time you get a delay is for the suicide and on the last trip – avalanches in the mountains.
in Asia, you can experience the inequality between rich and poor, something that is coming to the USA in a way I never thought would happen in my life. you can sit on a high-speed bullet train, in comfort and watch your coffee not even vibrate going a few hundred miles an hour while staring out the window. you can also get out on the local trains where people push the people into that train like a sardine in a can. there is no room to really move, and the humidity and heat of each person seem to make breathing harder while promoting a sense of claustrophobia.
it also has you wonder about the inhumanity of the trains taking people off to the various sad chapters in human behavior with the Holocaust and the various death, work, or reprogramming camps in various countries as a solution for undesirable activities with the state.
I enjoyed European trains as well. while most of the shows we had a car, it was nice to simply stare out the window and observe the architecture and culture that was foreign. I still can remember my assistant's jimmy’s face the time he mistook that departure time in Oslo and our first class tickets were turned into midnight cargo tickets. “please don’t fire me” was his words as we took that infamous train ride in the middle of the night in the middle of winter…in Scandinavia.
in hindsight, it is great memories. at the time…I still have no idea what we ate to be gracious to the Norwegian farmers that were proud to let us sample and taste some local foods they made. then there was the livestock …lol…c’est lavie.
in the developing part of the world. I also suggest you take the train and bus. it will show you how fortunate you are to have been born in the developed world and at the same time, you will also see how nice people can be where supply does not meet demand and people will share more. it gives you hope for the planet, and at the same time has you go back to the developed world and wonder, “why is everyone so stressed out? when is enough – enough?”
I still remember that one man I met. it might have been a bus in s. America. there was livestock, people, plants…you name it. there were the pungent smells of food and people and languages spoken that I had no idea what anyone was saying. the eyes of most were tired, seeming to wait for “when I the trip going to end?” little kids sleeping in their mother arms, the wrinkled and weathered faces of the aged and elderly providing skin contrast that any photographer would love.
but the man said, and this has always stuck with me.
“I don’t understand the west. you have so much, you are all so busy working to get more things, more houses, cars, bigger spaces. when I visited, I was amazed at the grocery stores filled with all the various goods and my host had a giant refrigerator in the kitchen and a freezer full of food in the garage. some people had not one, but two, three, five houses and yet, people were stressed out and unhappy.” and then it was how he said the next line, will forever stick in my mind.
“here, we consider ourselves blessed if we have food for today. should we have the food already for tomorrow, we consider ourselves really blessed.”
to anyone reading this in a land abundant in drive-throughs, instant gratification life with fast foods, mega grocery stores filled with an amazing abundance and plethora of food choices from processed foods taking up about 85% of the store space over what one actually needs. just remember how blessed you.
there is enough of on the planet for everyone. it is just that somehow humans have created a very skewed distribution system.
travel has taught me that life is a bit different wherever you are on this planet. it has also shown me the disparity and inequality in life on the planet. I wager few Americans realize that we consume 25% of the globe's resources and yet are only 5% of the globe's population. a part of me wonders if that is why the media is the way it is….don’t report about the rest of the world, as then people won’t realize that consumerism will never make them happy like the people on that bus in South America.
interesting times. while I can give you 1,000 reasons to be happy with the future of technology, robots, convenience, and tools….I have a handful of things that our flaws of humanity will probably take the good and make choices to use them in ways to continue repeating history manipulating fears and insecurity of people, instead of stopping for a moment and asking, “why exactly are we tolerating this insane behavior we think is normal in current society?”
today someone actually said, “I know what you are thinking." I smiled at them and thought, “can I book them out as a clairvoyant?” and then I realized we are all a bit stupid and blind these days…the only person that knows what is really in ones heart and mind is that person and the creator of it all….no one else.
I would ask, “what are you thinking?” as I age I have learned assuming or thinking I know what another is doing or thinking – is usually way off base. sort of like the inequality of things on this planet.
disclaimer - the pig photo is from a friends bbq business. the local town would not allow him ot put it in front of his store, so he takes it catering with him. the man makes amazing ribs and other bbq treats. everything is good in moderation, but based on what i was writing, it is a good impage for the idea of people consuming too much, yet, they probably don't realize they are getting consumed themselves with the systems and powers that be?