October 12, 2009 by Allen George
There are days when an experience transcends the everyday. When a train ride becomes perfect, and is stamped into your memory. Perhaps it’s the light. From rain clouds that do not drain the sun, but capture it and magnify it and scatter it until the whole world shines. Inside, fluorescents flicker. Ripples thrum along their plastic sheaths and keep time to the wheels of the train. Thut thut, Thut Thut. Everyone is bathed in light green light and the glow it lends them is as captivating as that outside. You are seized with the totality of the experience: the light inside, the light outside, the feel on your sleeve as you wipe clean a porthole in the misted-over window, the pulse in your ears, the drumbeat the wheels play as they hammer on tie after tie after tie . . . The train goes faster. And faster still. And then even faster until we are flying. No longer chained to materials as earthly as gravel or steel or wood we are instead riding on a line of liquid light that runs and merges and cleaves behind us. You can imagine the roar the diesels make, the path the red-eyed locomotive clears through the mist and the discs of light that were once commuter-car wheels. At this speed everything is perfect.
And then someone coughs.
Another answers her Blackberry.
And the moment is lost.