I took a train from Portland to Denver hoping that the trip might turn me into some kind of Jack Kerouac character — wise, spiritual, in tune with myself.
Instead, I hated life. These are the thoughts I recovered from the edge of insanity:
Hour 2 — My neighbor is a fascinating character, a meth head trying to find a former dealer who is also her current baby daddy, because he owes her child support and also some meth. Romance is beautiful, folks.
Hour 5 — Old people flirt with each other. *Fun fact*: Trains are where retired people go to hook up.
Hour 8 — There are a number of Amish families on the train. One Amish man sits next to me and opens a briefcase with a satellite phone inside and begins calling friends and family. I am confused. I have T-mobile and no cellular service. At one point the Amish man sees my envy and offers me his phone and an e-cigarette.
Hour 12 — As I watch out the window of the lounge car, I see a buzzard eating the carcass of a horse. A thought crosses my mind that this is a metaphor for the fleeting nature of life, but I don’t get a chance to pursue the thought because the guy next to me farted and now it smells like eggs and I wish I was that horse.
Hour 16 — I get exactly 45 minutes of sleep in my very uncomfortable chair (couldn’t afford the room with the bed) and wake up without a neck. I’m told I can purchase a new neck in the cafe, but the credit card machine is broken and they only accept sexual favors. When I offer sexual favors, the guy behind the counter says, “Ew no, you don’t have a neck.”
Hour 18 — Multiple groups of people are having political discussions in the aisles of the train. None of them bode well for the future of America.
Hour 19 — Lots of people drinking lots of drinks.
Hour 21 — Every time we go through a tunnel everyone in the car says “OOOooohhh!” and when we exit the tunnel, they scream at the top of their lungs “Yay! WOW!”.
I pray that the next tunnel ends in a wall.
Hour 23 — We see a group of elk standing on the side of the tracks. Everyone in the car begins yelling “ELK!” and “Oh my god look at them!” in what are very obviously “outside” voices. The moment is immediately ruined. All of the elk leave the U.S.
Hour 24 — Now everyone is clapping when we go through the tunnels.
Hour 27 — I forgot to bring a blanket, and a snowman has been put in charge of controlling the car’s temperature. He turns the AC down to a crisp 32 degrees, turns to me, lifts his middle finger (which is also a stick) and grins, slowly. Then he moonwalks back to his chair. I have snotsicles and I use them to stir my drink.
Hour 36 — Made it to Denver. Fuck Jack Kerouac and fuck self-discovery. Always take a plane.