Sunday, April 21, 2013

BUS STORY # 337 (Train Story # 2: The Entertainer, Part 1)

Last week, I promised to tell the two stories my wife and I gathered while waiting on the platform for the Rail Runner to Santa Fe.

I should probably explain here that the reason we got these stories is because I did not look at my itinerary the morning we left. I was sure we should leave the house at 8:00 a.m. and not 8:30...

That left us with an extra half-hour on the platform outdoors on a cool and breezy morning or a cold and windy morning, depending on which of us is telling the story. We both agree it was a gloriously beautiful, clear blue New Mexico sky morning.

It began when my wife looked at the pairs of tracks and started wondering how we would know which train was the right train, and where we should wait to board.

A gentleman sitting on a nearby bench noticed we were a slightly dithering couple and called out to us, asking if he could be of assistance.

He was a dapper-looking fellow at first sight, with a graying-out Van Dyke and a jaunty little alpine hat. Thin. He looked to be late middle-age.

After my wife explained her confusion, he told her the train would be on the far track.

“But how do you know? There aren’t any signs!”

Well, he knew because he often takes this train after coming up from Belen. It always arrives on the far track. In a bit, we would see the riders start standing on the far side to wait for its arrival.

He went on to explain he takes the 8:04 from Belen to here, then has an hour to wait for the 9:35 north. When the weather’s good, which it is most of the time, he grabs a burrito from the cafe inside the station -- here, he displayed the burrito he’d been working on, a generously egg-potato-meat-green chile-filled version of New Mexico’s unofficial and ubiquitous state breakfast wrapped in foil -- and added he believed this particular burrito has won some awards -- and then he sits out here eating his breakfast and people-watching.

As he was talking, I noticed his beard hadn’t been cleaned up at the margins in a while. He had his left leg crossed over his right, and was swinging his foot. I could see a worn spot over the toes of his shoe where the black had been worn away to an off-white.

My wife was not satisfied with the notion that the common knowledge of experienced riders eliminated the need for signage, and she wandered off looking for a railroad employee (and probably for a way to get out of the breeze).

I stayed and listened to this rider who, it quickly became obvious, loved to talk, was entertaining to listen to, and had quite a story to tell.

Continued next week.


Anonymous Brenda said...

Worth the wait. With your descriptions I can see the man sitting there on the bench eating his burrito. Hmmm, time for breakfast....

7:24 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thanks, Brenda. Hope your breakfast was as good.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Top-of-the-Arch said...

I am going to set my alarm to get up early next Sunday for the "fresh-off-the-press" publication of another much-anticipated bus story - heh heh!
PS: All is well here - we are on high-ground and no danger of flooding.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thank you, TOTA. If we were on low ground, we would still be in no danger of flooding.

10:48 AM  

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