Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Training Day

Unlike Christmas - or even Halloween - there aren't a lot of great Thanksgiving movies. With the exception of a great scene in Woody Allen's Annie Hall, probably the best is John Hughes' Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

That's where Steve Martin learned to be funny by playing straight man to John Candy, and the theme is all about trying to get home for the holidays by any means possible.

John Candy in this movie and I had a lot in common. We both had moustaches, we both played the accordion, and we were both - well, a punching a bit above the weight on the chart. Although I never was in a polka band like John Candy, I do wish I had been.

I couldn't help thinking of this movie today because we completed the transportation trifecta by taking the Amtrak train from Rutland to New York City.

Please permit me to become the greatest advocate for train travel since tracks were standardized. What an immense pleasure to take a long train ride. Look at your ticket and see that you have nearly six hours in the air, and your heart sinks. Same time for the train - you've hit the jackpot.

No droning engine noise, no seatbealts, not even a perfunctory safety demonstration that no one watches. You can stand up any time - even during takeoff. You can eat, drink, read, go to the loo - and no one ever tells you the tracks are a bit rough and you need to keep your fat ass in the seat.

And during most of the trip - that is, the part when you are not looking at the backyards of people in upstate New York who have train tracks running within a hundred yards of their homes - the view is great. The last part of today's trip was like taking a superfast cruise as we were right next to the wide Hudson River from Albany down to Yonkers. Beautiful.

I suspect passenger trains will disappear soon. In fact, I am surprised they are still around. But LK and I agree wholeheartedly on this one. (With the obvious exeption of those who have to use the rest rooms during the six hour trip), trains are easily the best way to get from Point A to Point B.

No comments: