< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Train Dispatch #6 - AM Talk

Monday, March 21, 2005

Train Dispatch #6 - AM Talk

Every morning we stop at East Norwalk on our way to Grand Central. Its one of those little stops where the platform is too short for the train, some days the end of the train is boarded, while others its the back. Today it was the back. I like it when the East Norwalk folks make it on to my end of the train. They're a different bunch altogether. A lot of East Norwalk commuters, at least the ones I've gotten to know, live right by the water. Sure their house isn't as grand as the estates in Greens Farms, but they're right up there against the sound, probably have a boat crammed in the front yard, and they love it... so do I.

This morning one of my favorite people on the train sat across from me in the two person seat backing up to the vestibule. A lot of times, these facing seats make great card game spaces, but this morning it was me, my old friend from East Norwalk, and three people snoozing away.

"How's the family?" he asked me. "Doing well, yours?" "Oh fine, just fine. My grandson graduates high school this year." "Congratulations." "Yes, he lives in CA so I doubt I'll be able to make it, wish I could."

Just so everyone is clear here, this sort of pleasant, civil, polite banter is highly unusual on Metro North, especially in the mornings. Most people are either sleeping, reading the paper, or are somewhere in between the two. Few people have conversations like this in the morning, and the evenings are more like locker room talk than coffee talk.

"Well I'm sure you must be proud." "Yes, I am..." He stared out the window for awhile.

"Say, what did you think about the latest attack in Iraq?" This question puzzled me. What on earth could he be referring too? I follow Iraq pretty closely, more closely than most I guess, but I was unaware of a new "attack" having happened, just more of the same.

"Which latest attack?" I asked. "Oh you know, the one oustide Baghdad, it was on MSNBC. They say they got 24 insurgents and only 6 of ours wounded. I suspect we'll be hearing about some dead on our side in a few days. That's how it always is, we know their dead right away, but it takes awhile for us to count ours."

I then peppered him with some questions, really worried I had missed a major development, but from what I could tell, it was just more of the same stuff I've been hearing.

At one point in the conversation, he looked at me squarely and said: "if we ran such a cheap war in WWII, the Germans would rule the world." My reply, after a second thought, "it begs the question of how badly we want to win?" "You're right" he nodded. We bothed stared out the window.