Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting Steamed On a Train


Not all was rosy on the Boone train that I wrote about in my last post. When we got on the train, it was a hot and sunny day so we chose to sit on the shady north side of the train. The seat back could be moved so that the seat could face in either direction of travel or as we did, you could face each other. The outbound trip was pleasant.

When we reached the end of the tracks, the conductor asked everyone to switch sides of the train so that everyone could see the scenery on the other side of the train on the way back. Since it was sunny and hot on the other side, I would have preferred staying in my shady north side seat but I also didn't want to deprive someone of their money's worth and so we stood up along with everyone else and switched sides.

When the people sitting in the chairs opposite of us stood up, we arranged their seat backs so that they were facing each other just like the other side and sat down. One of the couples who had been sitting in the seat were talking to each other and another group of four stole their seat (formerly one of our bench seats) leaving a vacated bench seat three rows back. On hindsight, I'm guessing they didn't know that the seat backs were adjustable and wanted to get the seats facing each other and thus jogged up a row.

When the couple realized this, rather than correct the people who took his seat, he tapped me on my shoulder and said, "excuse me but this is my seat." I politely told him that I was sorry but that the conductor had said that we were to change sides of the train for the trip back. He again repeated, "but this is MY seat."

I contemplated my options. My wife, Little Abbey and I were going to have to cram ourselves into a seat made for two people for the hour long journey back or we were going to have to separate ourselves to different parts of the train both several seats apart and on opposite sides of the train. We paid good money and got there early so that we could sit together so this wasn't really an option. I was just about ready to tell him that he needed to go voice his complaint to the conductor when his wife, evidently nervous from my silent pause to think through my options, pulled his sleeve and said that they would just go sit on the other side of the train. Like they were supposed to do in the first place.

We had an enjoyable trip back but it just got me that some people can't follow directions and then have to go and stir the pot. Everyone on that train switched seats, including a paraplegic lady who had to be lifted by three people to her new seat across the aisle and yet this couple evidently thought they were immune. That steamed me a bit.

10 comments:

R. Sherman said...

Trains are so cool. Somewhere, I've got a book listing all the operational steam locomotives used as tourist trains in the US. That would be a fun quest, to ride each of them.

Cheers.

Sage said...

Where did the picture come from... that train ain't in Iowa--at least not in any part of Iowa I've seen! You should have Murf photoshop steam rising from one of the passenger car windows.

Ed said...

R. Sherman - It would be fun but it would probably be on the expensive side.

Sage - I just grabbed it somewhere from the jumble of pictures on the web. I wanted a steaming train to go with my post title. It looks like out west somewhere.

TC said...

LOL @ Sage's comment.

I'd have been annoyed, too. If a paraplegic can move to follow the rules, so can everyone else.

Murf said...

He obviously doesn't like change. I did cringe while reading this because it reminded me of my Agawa Canyon train trip. *shiver*

edifice rex said...

Unfortunately, some people are just butts!

Eutychus2 said...

You did the right thing, and at least his wife was sensitive in catching the message of silence. Sometimes we have to stand [or sit] up for the kids! Way to go Ed!
Sherm if you find that listing, could you send a list of trains in Michigan, thanks.

geri said...

Probably the concept was just too complicated to this guy.

Beau said...

I'm with you on that one, especially with the family. What is it with some folks? Even in Japan where you're crowded into trains like sardines (with half the folks standing), people readily get up and give their seats for older folks and ladies with children. Besides, none of the trains I've been on have assigned seats anyway. Murf's right... some folks can't handle change. Cool picture on the top!

PhilippinesPhil said...

Sometimes silence is more effective and even more intimidating than verbal argument. Sounds like the guy's wife "got it." Good for her.