26 Feb

Non stop between here and your destination

043 overcrowded train IndiaWhile, technically, we call this train an express, it runs at unpredictable speeds and, did we call it a train–we meant bus or moped or Formula One (look out, driver in training!). And by train, did you think we meant bullet? Sir or Ma’am, you have to pay for the privilege of riding the bullet. This train is bourgeois, it’s a zoo train, the Western Star, the Himalayan Express, or Amtrak service to Tillamook. (It really is a train. Did we say Formula One? Sorry, bit of a runamok, that–F1 is two doors down, marked Competitive Journalism. Don’t knock, just bust in. But be prepared for a lot of paperwork.)

Whatever you do, stay on the train. Even for unexpected stops (carnivals crossing the tracks) and security checkpoints. Do not believe the voice that says, What am I doing, this journey was a stupid idea, what possessed me to think that I should look for work in the land of vengeful coconut palms!

Stay on the train. Do not step onto the platform till it reaches the end. If it turns out you bought the wrong ticket, that on arrival you discover you really meant to journey to the land of pachyderm docents who can show you recent archeological evidence (in their newly tiled Museum of History–why the new tiles everywhere?) PROVING that 100,000 y.a. elephants could leap with all four feet off the ground–but with no resolution on why that it is impossible today, although they have theories about everything from a cosmic catastrophe increasing planetary gravity to the elephant obesity problem–why then, you go.

And you stay on the train.

At first the train will be empty except for service personnel. The conductor. The steward with the snack cart. The lady sword swallower (oh my!). But as you complete more journeys you’ll see other passengers on board until perhaps the train is overwhelmed. But, really, trains are strong. Until the engine wears out or the track breaks, they are capable of non stop travel.

26 Feb


Spider web;J Schmidt;1977Those of us who aren’t arachnophobes (not freaked out by spiders) tend to identify, metaphorically, with the spider and not the web. But I wondered this morning–on my intentionally lengthy walk from the bus stop to the office–if you ever feel more like the web, your long sticky axons stretched thin in multiple interconnected directions over an indeterminate space (and perhaps time) trying to catch food. Since you’re the creature absorbing those unlucky flybys you’re more like a sentient web and not just a food trap for a higher power (unless…oh, no, that would be silly, let’s move on).

Next time, insect metaphors of a traditionally sinister sort (where you’re the fly simply unable to resist the lure of a sensual glistening web) and misused metaphors (sorry, you do not Attract Bees with Honey–that phrase is a dingbat replacement for the creepy Attracting Children with Candy and the more apt Don’t Be a Dick if you want people to listen or…do your bidding.)