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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sorry Marty...

No Hoverboards Allowed

...no hoverboards allowed.

This is a sign at the Menlo Park Caltrain station. Erin and I saw this sign yesterday because we were taking the train to Redwood City (as we'll do again today).

On the train, in our customary boarding area spot (we only go one stop, and it's not worth it to take the backpack off and sit down for 1 minute then put the backpack on again) we were suddenly approached by a Conductor-Type.

Wow. He's looking awfully determined.

"Excuse me sir..."

Uh-oh.

"Would you like me to clear a seat for you and your baby?"

Wha...? Wow.

He was asking me if I would like him to kick someone out of one of the "assistance" seating areas that seat four comfortably, facing each other, so that I wouldn't have to (a) sit in a narrow two-seat, or (b) stand in the boarding area looking forlorn like no one cares about the tough lot in life that is the SAHD's.

"Oh, thank you very much. We're just going one stop, though. That was very kind."

"She's adorable."

Yeah she is. And she's also magic, apparently.

When we deboarded (is it "deboarded" or "disembarked" when you're talking about trains?) the train in Redwood City we were met by a throng of happy little 4 year olds and their surprisingly competent and happy chaperones, all boarding the train we were just de-planing (I've given up).

And on our way back home later that afternoon we boarded the southbound train that those same 4 year olds were just abandoning, so we saw their cherubic, enthusiastic faces again, and we saw their happy chaperones. And we saw one unhappy little girl and a matronly chaperone trying to console her.

When Erin and I got on the train our Conductor-Type friend was there and he gave us a nod, and saw us watching the little girl and her chaperone. He confided: "I don't know what his problem was. All she wanted to do  was announce "Redwood City" over the intercom as we pulled in. I was going to let her."

I looked around for the mysterious "he" the Conductor-Type was talking about.

"He came running up and just started saying "That's not allowed. That's not allowed.""

I still didn't know who he was talking about.

"He and I haven't been getting along very well today. He's been on since 5:30 this morning and we've had a long day of it."

Ah. Another Conductor-Type. One who doesn't want kids playing with his train, no matter what his co-workers say.

"Well," I said, "maybe he just needs a nap."

Because that's always my answer when presented with afternoon grumpiness.

Two Conductor-Types both alike in dignity,

on middling-to-fair Caltrain where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil-servant blood makes civil-servant hands unclean.

From forth the fatal opinions of these two foes

A single frustrated child takes her grief.

And my Conductor-Type friend never once asked to see the ticket I had in my pocket. Any day now I'm going to stop buying them.

Sha'right.

11 comments:

for a different kind of girl said...

Did you just rock a "Back To The Future" reference here? If so, kudos!

Patti Mayo said...

It's never a dull moment when you ride the train huh?? I think that's totally awesome that the conducter offered to find you seating, shows that chivarly (in any form-even to a guy carrying a baby) isn't dead. Renews my faith in humanity until you get the Crabby Conducter guy.

Crabby Conducter guy needs a nap. He should have just the little girl make the announcement.

Can I just say, dude what was his problem?? all she wanted to do is make the announcement. It wouldn't have hurt anyone.

And I think that even as cute as Erin is and they don't ask you for a ticket, you continue to do the honest and right thing and keep buying one....just seems like the type of man you are.

nomotherearth said...

Love the R&J verse...

Marly said...

Try... detrain. :)

Backpacking Dad said...

FADKOG: It was indeed. 100 Cool Points to you :}

Patti Mayo: I will probably buy tickets forever. But dammit. Sometimes...

Nomotherearth: 100 Cool Points to you too. Shakespeare is at least as cool as movie about a time traveling high school kid :}

Marly: I can't handle the intelligence emanating from you. I need to go take a break and watch "Dancing With the Stars"

My_Dog_Is_Better said...

Ok, is this Cal-train just like...at an amusement park or something? How did you get cross paths with the SAME group of kids and also have the SAME conductor-types? You went to Disney again didn't you?

My_Dog_Is_Better said...

Oh, and what exactly IS the hoverboard-looking thing in the picture? Whatever it is, it must be REALLY banned, even more than smoking, since they marked it with a thick red circle instead of a thin one.

Heather J. said...

Very nice reference.....
and I so didn't get it until I read the comments.
Damn, I'm losing it!

Mumma Boo said...

You are so the Renaissance man - "Back to the Future" and Shakespeare references in one post. As those Guinness guys say - "Brilliant!"

Shaping Youth said...

Your readers are as funny as your erudite prose! Thanks for the smile, and hey, I think I've SEEN that conductor guy on CalTrain! (the other one CLEARLY needs a nap)

So, what we need next is for you to start toting that cherub on United 757s, since my flight to Boston last week was chock full of surly flight attendants admonishing parents for 'walking' their lap-kids a tad in the aisles when they got the ansies, AND barking reprimands at using the seat as a changing table, even though they did NOT HAVE a changing table in ANY of the bathrooms. (is this really the 21st century?)

Pray tell, where was the dad SUPPOSED to change the tyke, in the cockpit? Sheesh.

He showed gracious composure, whereas I was like one of those cartoon characters with the steam coming out of my ears, quietly seething at the idiocy of the snarly attendants who were far, far, FAR from parent-friendly.

p.s. First time I've seen refs to Shakespeare and a MJFox flick in a concurrent post, YOU rock!

Backpacking Dad said...

my_dog_is_better: I think they took the train up the line somewhere then picked up the train again after it came back from San Francisco. So no, not at Disneyland :} We'll be taking Erin next week. And the hoverboard thing is a skateboard with the wheel stickers peeled off.

Heather J: Eat your spinach!

Mumma Boo: thank you very much :}

Shaping Youth: I've changed a nasty diaper in a United 757 bathroom on the toilet seat. I'm very awesome like that. And Hooray for props to readers :}