I have a college degree, went to several different universities and have lived all over the place. Yet, I can’t seem to accept how simple it is to take a train!
Since I was very young I’ve been a frequent flyer, often goin cross country. At the age of 12 I flew by myself for the first time. I went to Reno, NV, was placed next to a woman who was ironically named Natalie, she held up the plane at our layover because she needed to have a cig. But the simplicity of taking a train constantly baffles me.
Today, I’m taking a train from Union Station in LA to go visit my family for an early Christmas. So, I navigate my way through the LA metro system, which is way too inconvenient, and finally get to Union Station. I rush upstairs (I hate being underground anywhere in CA because I know the likelyhood of “the big one” hitting while I’m most vulnerable is very good) and search for a Metrolink kiosk. But no, there are only little machines. Buying a ticket is such a simple task that people aren’t even needed (thank God because I’m getting really tired of the unfriendly public transit people in this town).
I attempt to buy my ticket on this machine not one, or two, but three times. Poking at it like I’m some primitive monkey. I finally get my round trip ticket and head out to the tracks. I assume it will be hard to find, like at airports how your gate gets changed and you have to keep checking the monitors. But no. There is one sign with all the tracks laid out and clearly marked.
In fact, it’s harder to find a bathroom in this place than your train.
So after a cool 15 minutes, I have my ticket, I know what track I need, and now all my extra time I thought I’d need can be used meandering through Union Station.
I’ve taken my share of trains and typically hate trains stations, and since LA isn’t exactly known for world class transportation, I had very low hopes. Then I entered the main room.
Imagine Hogwarts meets a grand Mexican ranch. Brick red ceramic tiles with huge wooden, cushy chairs. Don’t forget the giant wreaths and Christmas tree adorning the room. It’s beautiful! Almost magical, really.
So, I sit down and start people watching, my favorite past time. I’m quickly reminded why people hate LA and the people in it. Some woman is giving a tour, talking about the movies that have been filmed here, like she’s super cool because she possesses cliche knowledge. Then there’s the woman on the other side of my back rest. Her voice is so destroyed by smoking it takes you a minute to realize she’s not a man. She’s telling jokes to herself like there’s no tomorrow and I’m just praying she doesn’t try to talk to me. Then there’s the girlfriend leaning on her uninterested napping boyfriend. He finally swings his hand to her side of the engraved wooden armrest and she immediately grabs it, trying not to seem eager. And the po po is asking ever brunette is she’s “Ashley.”
Anyways, all this rambling is to say that trains are so easy, that they are confusing. I challenge you to try and take the train next time instead of making a long drive. You will be blown away by how easy yet hard it is.


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