Saturday, November 26, 2005

You Sit in Our Quiet Car

On my way back to New York today, I happend to step in to the car right after the First Class car, which turned out to be the quiet car of Acela.

Quiet car is as quiet as the non quiet ones, speaker with announcement is on whenever we were close to a station. People chatted as normal, no one was loud. No one was particularly loud as you will hear in some really crowded Chinese restaurants. My people are not that quiet, especially the Cantonese speaking ones. And coming from the most populus country in the world, I enjoy quietness whenever I can get it, although it was not like you can hear the pin drop either.

However, the unnecessary enforcement of the quientness rule by the conductor seemed to have defeated the purpose.

Every person he collectd the ticket from, he will say the following twice: This is our quiet car, no cell phone usage is permitted and no loud conversations. Please be considerate to your neighbors. He repeated that to every one of us. And it was a sold out train. Every seat was taken. My I Pod was out of battery. I had no choice but to hear the definition of quietness again and again and found that amusing.

When I decided to go to the cafe car to strech a little. I saw this young guy sitting there mending his shirt with a needle and thread. I stared at him with amazement. I don't see man mend that much, and I don't expect to see one on the train to New York after thanksgiving. He just seemed to be so prepared. He seemed enjoying doing it. It is quite a relaxing and still picture, almost reminded me of Vemeer.

I sat on the left side of the train, on a window seat. The sun was so bright and persistently stayed on the sky from upper left in the 3-hour ride, that I had to put on my sunglasses. And then while I looked outside through the window, the images reminded me the one time I went watching the contemparory installment art in Soho, where a simple mechanical engine, a camera and some plastic sheet with holes can create the images that you see while sitting in a speeding train or a moving car at a rainy night. Beautiful feelings.

It was quite a pleasant experience in the quiet car of Acela on the Friday after thanksgiving. And I am going home this time, from a quiet suburb to a not so quiet city and I am looking forward to the moment where I can not tell whether the siren is from the Law and Order on TV or 9th Avenue outside my window.


Blogger Thomas said...

I knew you couldn't stay away.

Call me this weekend?

2:43 PM  
Blogger New York Red said...

Am I THAT predictable?!

3:30 PM  

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