Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The same way you get to Carnegie Hall...

For the past year I have been commuting to Irvine by train. This is my morning ride, the southbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

The fact that I no longer drive to work has changed my life. Besides not having to sit in traffic I can bead on board. The travel time between my home station and Irvine is less than 30 minutes so I have to glance out of the window often--when I see certain landmarks it is time to start packing up.

I tend to be a tad compulsive, so there is a good chance that I will miss my station stop one of these days and ride the train all the way to San Diego because I CAN'T STOP BEADING RIGHT NOW.

This is what my tray table looks like on board:

That beige thing is a bead mat. It is a fuzzy fabric that keeps the beads from rolling around.

Train commuters usually keep to themselves, however the sight of a woman with little piles of seed beads on her tray table tends to invite comment. The most frequent thing that people say is "How can you do that on a moving train?" The answer I usually give is "The same way you get to Carnegie Hall." (Full disclosure: This line is a variation of an ancient joke which I stole from my sister.)

Since I have started selling my finished pieces, the fact that I bead on the train gives me an easy way to track my time. Minus settling in & packing up I have a solid 20 minutes of beading time each way. The bracelet shown on the bead mat in the photo above was completed in two train rides so I know to factor 40 minutes into my pricing calculation.

Amtrak has a cafe car on board. The attendant in the cafe car will use the PA system after each stop to announce the location of the cafe car and to remind riders that they can get something to eat or drink on their journey. Most of the attendants make a straightforward announcement, however now & then there is an attendant who takes it one step further. There is a fellow who describes one of the offerings in the cafe as "Delicious fresh fruit Skittles", another one who sings the menu.

The recorded announcements ("Our next station stop is Anaheim. Thank you for choosing Amtrak!") are (I am almost certain) the voice of the great Gary Owens.

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