Having spent this past Sunday seeing the dregs of society on the south lawn of the Capitol, I was ready for an alternative experience. Little did I think I'd get it on Amtrak.
I decided to ride the rails to Chicago, having not taken the train for longer than the Joliet to Springfield stint years ago. Something about spending $500 on a r/t air ticket between DC and Chicago that rubbed me wrong, especially when it is for a George Winston benefit concert for HEAR US, my organization.
Union Station was a-buzz with junior hi kids being herded by chaperones and "suits" hopping between the Hill and Wall Street, or so I imagine. With time to spare I meandered and observed, though not able to get to my camera deeply embedded in one of my 2 carry-ons.
The Amtrak area was packed, and with very little direction--a scarcity of A personnel--civilization worked. The cattle-gates helped, but no one seemed annoyed or irritated as they lined up for what is a full train. The A-folks seemed to drop the ball when it came to organizing the early boarding, but even that went better than I expected.
If you look at any public scene--from crowded intersections ruled only by traffic lights, or busy urban sidewalks--you might be amazed to see what can normally be pleasant encounters. It can happen. We humans are still capable of it, despite being egged on by media and pundits.
I'm happy so far to be bouncing along on our nation's railway, enjoying the last moments of daylight over the West VA and MD countryside. It's reassuring that we can still be trusted to be with each other and even extend a bit of concern and help when the opportunity arises.
Seems to me the true test will be in the morning as we all awaken and grope for coffee or whatever else gets our engine rolling. I'll wear a warning label!