If you missed Part One, where in the hell have you been? Part 1
And now Part 2 of A Humbled Beginning to A Bitter End: All Aboard!!!!
The last time we read about my mistaken journey into the land of dirt and pee, I was getting ready to head out. The time had come. I was ready for my journey into the wild brown yonder. I wish it was by plane – my ass wouldn’t have hurt as bad. The train comes down the track blaring the whistle at 1:42 in the morning. Damn, I am not going to get any sleep on this trip as I thought to myself. I grab my two bags. I swear I have more clothes than most women. Sad part about that is, it is mostly shirts. The conductor asks “Where are you headed?” In a stand still my mind froze. Don’t say anything stupid!!! Don’t say anything stupid! “Hell, if I don’t change my ways.” There it is. I knew word vomit would come out of my mouth at that moment. “St. Louis” I say. He tells me to head back to the observation car so he can take my money. The stop was in a small station. They don’t even have a person selling tickets. Didn’t really know that it was like that the whole way. I set my bags down in the designated luggage compartment and make my way to the front of the train. It could have been the back. It was really really confusing. How did I start this journey to middle earth? Getting lost on an Amtrak Train. I know. I know. I am amazing. Don’t try this at home kids, leave it to trained professionals…
I finally find my way to the observation car. I owe a big thank you to Google Maps. I may have still been looking for that car without Google. I sit down right across from a 19 year old male. One thing you have to know about being on a train, the rides are long. You are going to have to meet new people. Did you know actually talking to someone was still a form of communication? I didn’t until this trip. On my right hand side was 33 year old woman. I will say for the next hour and a half, we are the three best friends anyone can have. The 19 year old was heading to Michigan to start his life over. He was telling me how booze and drugs pretty much ruined his teenage years. He wanted to go somewhere to start a new life and get new friends. The woman was heading back to her home in Chicago. She was also going to be throwing one hell of an 80’s throwback party. Made me wish I was going to Chi-Town. We decided to sit kind of together on our way to St. Louis.
The lady was busting out her kick ass 80s clothing. I am now adding leg warmers to Richard’s list of sexy things that women wear. Outfit after outfit, I thought she might have killed Cyndi Lauper and stolen her wardrobe. We had to explain to the 19 year old who Cyndi Lauper was. That is a completely different story for a different day. We were about an hour into our journey. Our first stop, the town of Poplar Bluff, MO. The place where I was born. That place is a shit hole. It’s a run-down town and actually very creepy. Try going to their Wal-Mart in the middle of the day. If you don’t feel better about yourself, I will buy you a Twinkie. The train comes to complete stop. We have kinda simmered down from our random 80s conversation. I was thinking it was time for some shut eye when the unthinkable happens.
A conductor caught a passenger shooting up some drugs while we were paying for our tickets. I was sleeping when five cops come running by me. I was awakened by the sounds of “get on the ground!” HOLY SHIT!!! This is taking place just 10 to 15 seats in front of me. I am scared for my life. The only thing I was hoping is that Nutsy didn’t smuggle anything on the train. I decided to make a Facebook status about this little incident. You shouldn’t be shooting heroin on a train, dumbass. However, I am just as dumb in some aspects. I didn’t turn my phone on vibrate. You ever have a moment where your phone rings and the first thing through your head is, shit Shit SHIT!!!!! This was one of those moments for me. Why do you ask? My friend Justin is the individual who called me. Why is this so important? Justin is like my brother. A few years ago we played a drinking game to the show COPS. His ringtone? The theme to COPS. This is not only embarrassing for me but it shows me that Justin has great comic timing. “BAD BOYS, BAD BOYS!!!” Is now ringing all throughout the train. I am trying to turn it off as fast as possible. A friend told me that the top button on the iPhone is the shady button. If you don’t want to talk to someone, BAM shady button. I hit that button quicker than a contestant on Jeopardy hits that buzzer. Cat-like reflexes. I am now thinking, I am going to be arrested too. The cops take the man off the train. The fourth cop looked at me as they were walking by, and gave me that wink/point thing a douche bag college student would do. I made it through that unharmed. I was just hoping I didn’t have to show any cleavage or worse. I know sucking dick is a talent that runs in the family, but I don’t have the lips for it. I am glad that is over. I can get a couple of hours of sleep before I hit the Lou.
Nap time is over. Saint Louis baby. I felt perked up. I felt alive to be in my old stomping grounds. I cut my teeth in the improv world in this town. God, it felt great to be back. I invited a couple of my improv buds to come join me and partake in a little finger licking fried chicken. The train arrived at a little around 8. I had two hours to kill so what was a man to do? The only thing you can do, get to know more people, talk on the phone and put up random Facebook statuses. I was sitting there talking to a business man who was waiting for his wife to come home on the bus. He was telling me how they met when we were interrupted by a gaggle of Amish people. They were taking a bus back to their native land. I will get to that in a sec. They pretty much took up every seat in the waiting area. I thought I was in a Weird Al music video for a second. I have never seen so much facial hair in my life and that was on the little kids.
I have been left alone. I am sitting there all by myself waiting for my friends to show up when all of a sudden, I looked down and noticed my phone was almost dead. There are a few plug ins across the train station. I am lazy and 15 to 20 steps could take it out of me the rest of the day. As I begin to rise up to go charge my phone, I hear an Amish kid say “Fo Sho.” WHAT IN THE HELL??? I sat back down and took a front row seat for this humorous conversation. I then picked up on something else about this Amish family. They aren’t American. They are speaking French. OH Canada, my home and native land. I get on the horn cause I have to tell someone about the French Canadian Amish people. I am on the phone at the charging dock when one of the Amish women locks eyes with me. She is just a woman churning butter in front of a guy asking him to love her. She kept starring at me and starring at me and starring me. Do I look like an Ezekiel?
As I am getting my soul sucked out by an Amish girl, my friends showed up. YAY!!!! That means one thing – we are splitting a bucket of chicken, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese. Yes, please. We are enjoying putting a big juicy breast in our mouth. Kris notices something out of his eye, the Amish chick has moved to a seat to where she can watch me. “ I think it is cause you look like one of them.” I have never had an Amish Stalker before. This is kind of cool and fucked up at the same time.
The escalator is down from the food court. We are watching people come into the waiting area the whole time. The three of us are making up stories for each person who walks in. An elderly lady is coming down the stairs. She gets caught at the bottom and falls. Her bags her go sliding across the floor. The gaggle of French Canadian Amish people just start laughing. Amish people with a ‘tude, that is quite unheard of. They just kept laughing and laughing. My improv buddies and I help her up. We get her bags together. The lady started crying a little bit. It broke our hearts to see such a rude reaction from an otherwise genuinely nice group of people. The three of us decided we needed to get them back but in a fun way. We sit directly in front of my newly acquired Amish lover. The three of us start doing sexy Amish things. We pretend to put up a wall, churn butter and whip a horse. I know we were making that Amish girl wish her family wasn’t around so she could ahold of me. They were all getting up to leave finally. I decided to borrow a small slip paper. I write down my phone number on it and tell her to call me during her Rumspringa. I expect a phone call and to go herd some cattle while getting shit-faced.
The time is 4 in the afternoon. I have been in the train station way too long already. Finally, by the grace of God and a large Pepsi, it was time to board the train to KC. My home away from home and thehome of the damn best BBQ in the country. That is right, be jealous Memphis. This train ride is a little different than the first one for me. The only topic on this train was the NFL playoffs. We are sitting in the observation car, watching the Saints and 49ers play each other. I have no real investment in this game. Neither team has Tim Tebow or is from Green Bay. The game was going back and forth. A man walks in a three piece suit. I didn’t know people still wore those. I am waiting for him to pull out a pocket watch and start smoking a pipe. He might even ask to talk to Sherlock Holmes. He comes in and tells us how the Saints are going to win. New Orleans can’t win in an outdoor stadium. Everyone knows that, ask the Seahawks about that formula. He shows us a stub that he placed 20 grand on the Saints. I wish I had 20 grand. If I did. I sure as hell wouldn’t be gambling on the Saints. I would have made a bet on a sure thing, like the Royals losing. The Saints have the lead with 30 seconds to go. I have no idea how Alex Smith did it but he hit his tight end for the game winning touchdown. Needless to say, the man in the three piece suit is not happy at all. He took the beer he was drinking and threw it across the train car. I wish I possessed the high speed camera from Mythbusters for this one. It would have been amazing it to see that glass in slow motion.
After a 15 minute stop in Kansas City, I was off to New Mexico and Albuquerque. I am getting some shut eye while going through the most boring state out of all fifty. I could also add eastern Colorado to that list. I woke up to the beautiful mountains of Colorado. I knew that the rest of the trip was going to be special. The mountains, a hippie couple and a guy who had his marijuana growing card…life was perfect. Ok, maybe almost perfect. He could have had some with him to share. Now that would have been amazing. I am listening to a hippie couple talk about how everyone needs to be a free spirit. It takes the stress away from life they said. By the end of this trip, I believed them with everything in my heart. They gave another couple and myself some raisins. Who doesn’t love raisins? The couple behind me had sold everything they owned. They had nothing to their names except the money in their pocket and the clothes on their back. Talk about crazy but awesome at the same time.
Everyone on the train impacted my life in a way I never thought possible. It makes for a great story but it also shows the stories of people who are changing their lives and trying to find normal. I am in the process of changing my own life as well. We pull into the train station in Albuquerque. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach. The conductor on the intercom: “We have arrived in Albuquerque.” I am shaking with nervousness and excitement. I grab my bags and exit the car. I step through the open doors to the station knowing she is going to be right there waiting…
Stay Tuned for Part 3