Sunday, October 22, 2006



















While on the Amtrak train back home to Brooklyn, I sat across from a nervous young mother with a one year old boy. Abby and the boy passed emergency procedure pamphlets back and forth until the mother left in Philadelphia. Two old women got on the train and sat in the young mother’s spot. These two women were hilarious. I had to pretend my book was excruciatingly funny. They both were decked out in jewels and their hair was freeze dried with hairspray. One wore high-heeled boots with a green plaid outfit. They seemed your typical older upper class white Americans. The first few minutes of their arrival went something like this:

“Oh my! Look at this mess! This is disgusting! Are there any other seats?”
“No. Kids most have been sitting here. Are those chips? Eww. I can’t sit on chips!”
“Here Gladys brush off the chips. Where is the person that cleans up after people?”
“Oh God! Betty, there’s trash on the floor! EWW A dirty napkin. They should put up signs that say “Pick up after your self.”
“A child was surely sitting here. Here we will sit and when the person comes to collect our tickets, we’ll see if a person comes with a trash bag.”
“Oh! Don’t push the trash towards me! Where will I put my feet?”
Points to the ground, “What is THAT?” (It’s a piece of candy.)
“OH GOD! I don’t know!”

The ticket collector comes and here’s how the conversation went:

Gladys: “Is there a person to collect trash?”
Ticket man: “No. There are trash receptacles located on either end of the car.”
Gladys: “Well, this trash seems to be left by the previous person sitting here.”
Ticket man: “Yes. We have trashcans for trash. There is no trash collector on the train.”
Betty: “Can you take our trash to the can then? It would be much appreciated.”
Ticket man: (looks up and down the train car, then gives in) “Fine.”
Gladys: “Thank you! You should really put up signs telling people to clean up after themselves.”

Betty scoots the trash with her foot towards the man who stands there waiting for her to hand it to him. There’s this awkward moment of waiting to see who is going to pick up the tray of trash, until Betty finally bends to the ground to get it. The dirty napkin falls off and Gladys has to pick it up with the tips of her pointer and thumb.

Yes the seat was a bit messy from the young woman and her son, but it wasn’t that bad. It’s Amtrak. It’s not a first class jet liner. What were these women expecting? They were on their way to Providence.

I rearranged and cleaned the kitchen drawers today. Abby has all her dishes at her level and the silverware is within her reach. Now she can help her self completely to snacks and help set the table. It felt great to clean out those yucky drawers!

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