Off Topic: Strangers on a Train
Today’s subject is not about horses. For more non-equine subjects, see my other blog, Off Topic. Rodney’s Saga returns to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.
I suspect I upset my Amtrak seatmate once upon a time.
First, a little backstory: When I was a teenager, I looked younger than my age by many years. In one instance, I was visiting a breeding farm. The barn manager explained to me about the “mommy horses” and the “daddy horses” and the “baby horses.” I thought he was simple-minded. He thought I was too young to understand reproduction.
In another instance, a stewardess stared at me with great consternation when she saw that I was flying alone. She thought I was an unaccompanied munchkin. She instructed me to wait for her when the plane landed. Sure. Fine. She came back later with a confused look and asked how old I was. I told her. She said I was free to debark on my own recognizance.
Apparently, I did not exude an air of gravitas and maturity. End backstory.
So there I was, 14 years old but looking 9 at the oldest. This train was nothing new to me. One parent in New York City and one parent in Washington DC equaled much time shuttling back and forth. Shortly before the moment in question, I had moved from living with my mother (NYC) to living with my father (DC). I was slowly adapting to the new routines. This was the first weekend I had gone back to visit my mother.
A gentleman sat down next to me on the crowded train. He asked, conversationally, about my trip.
Well, it was Sunday night. I was going home. Which meant NYC. But I just came from there. Why was I leaving? I was going to DC. Why was I doing that? I was usually coming from DC on Sunday night. Hmmm. I’m either going to DC or NYC. One of the two. Was the train traveling north or south? I gave up and asked,
“Which way is the train heading?”
He probably thought I was a run-away. He did not speak to me again.