There is something soporific about Amtrak’s east coast trains. There is no place where it is easier to doze off. I believe that is the reason that the P.A. system is set so loudly. Two minutes before the train arrives at a station, and upon arrival, a booming (!!) voice makes announcements. Enough, as they say, to wake the dead.
Almost. When the train pulled into Union Station last night at about 11:45 p.m., and I walked to the exit, I noticed one woman (who I had seen at Penn Station 3+ hours earlier) was sound asleep. I don’t think she heard a thing.
People were walking by her. She was dead to the world. No problem, said I to myself, the conductor will wake her up (it was the last station on the run). But then, two people ahead of me I saw him: the conductor, suitcase in tow, was leaving the train.
It is now 10 a.m. I assume she is no longer asleep. But do you think she woke up, in a complete panic, at 3 a.m.? Do you think this morning’s cleaning crew roused her? Or do you think, before they seal the train for the night, they play the Star Spangled Banner, forcing anyone remaining to stand and salute?