Monday, November 30, 2015

All Aboard the Quiet Car

I think it's safe to say that for the first time in my life, I woke up at 4:20 a.m. Now going to bed at ungodly hours like 4:20 a.m., that I've got some experience with.

Unlike so many people I know, I don't have sleep issues. No problems going to sleep, no waking up in the middle of the night unable to fall back to sleep, no settling for too little sleep. A typical night's sleep for me is around nine hours, give or take.

I'm lucky, I know.

So why I awoke at 4:20 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep baffles me. My guess is there's something churning in my head that caused me to create some early morning time for reflection. So I had a few conversations in my head. I took inventory of what might possibly be on my mind of such importance that it would awaken me before sunrise.

And then at 7, I finally got up, not even sure how much daylight to expect when I looked outside. Between the rain and the dawn's early light, it wasn't a particularly appealing time to be up and out.

The trade-off was eventually boarding the train to Washington because of how much I enjoy having hours with nothing more to do than read and look at scenery, while people motor by on I-95, their sad little souls being sucked with every mile driven.

Unexpectedly, today's surprise was that since it had been summer when I last rode the rails, I got a completely different perspective today.

Leafless trees gave me views I hadn't yet had from the train. Houses, bodies of water and even back roads revealed themselves for the first time. My favorite Potomac-side crab shack looked positively forlorn off-season.

And, yes of course I napped on the train, mainly during an hour delay because all the northbound trains had to switch tracks manually rather than automatically, just like in the old days.

Which was precisely when the movie "Laura" was set, which was about all I knew about the film besides that it was a well-regarded film noir before I saw it for the first time tonight.

I'll tell you what, 1944 looked like the dark ages in some respects.

Murder suspects are allowed to tag along with the detective investigating the case. Sometimes detectives remove bullets from the presumed murder weapon and then return the gun to its secret hiding place. Detectives drink booze from the crime scene bar.

Flawed police policy aside, I was amazed to see a scene where a writer is up to his bellybutton in the bathtub, typing away on a board stretched across the tub. Amazed because I'd just seen the exact same scenario in the brand-new film "Trumbo" last week.

Apparently, there was a time when it was perfectly normal for men to type in the tub. Who knew?

One thing that hasn't changed much? Dames still don't always do what you tell them to.

And even a catch like a man who types love letters in the bathtub can't do a thing about it. But he can try.

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