I seem to have finally shaken off the cold from hell. Maybe I left it in the historic city of Sacramento, where I attended a conference earlier this week. Just another problem for the Governator to deal with. Mutant Cold Invades California’s Capital! Run for your life!
The conference was much better than these things usually are, being focused on women in the financial world (of which I am one). The keynote speaker was Madeleine Albright, and she was incredibly impressive, which I expected, and funny and charming, which I didn’t.
I took the train there, and was struck by how civilized it is compared to the horrors and indignities of air travel. I got to keep my clothes and shoes* on, for one thing. No-one groped me or peered into my fabulous mod luggage (I was unable to resist carrying a train case on the train) or repossessed my toothpaste or questioned who I was or why I was going to Sacramento. True, I or any of the other passengers could have had a bag full of bombs, but no-one did.
On board, it wasn’t quite as delightful as the trains in “Leave Her To Heaven” or “Strangers on a Train”, but look how those stories turned out. Mine was uneventful and comfortable. I spent the two hours working, reading the New Yorker, and admiring the sunlit scenery. Much of the trip was spent passing the deltas, and it was slightly surreal to see huge container ships seeming to float on fields whose grasses hid the water behind them. Ducks and swans floated serenely on marshes beside the railroad tracks, presumably unaware of the nearby gun club.
Sacramento was the end of the line, and as I walked toward the grand old station, I heard the conductor announcing “This train is going nowhere.”
*Isn’t it amazing that just one guy had a hare-brained scheme that didn’t even work, and now it’s affecting all of us for the rest of our travelling lives?