No matter how many times I get on a plane or train, I always do the reading part wrong. My fantasy of how much and what I’ll read on the way, when I’m there (wherever there is), and on the way home is persistent and unrealistic in the extreme. Wishful thinking rather than logical assessment, and no lessons learned from experience.
This brief trip to Richmond, Virginia started last Friday morning and ended in New York City on Monday evening. I went by Amtrak’s Northeast Regional, and that seemed like the perfect opportunity to do some reading, do some work, maybe even relax and watch the scenery go by.
For one thing, on the train there’s a Quiet Car, in which no one is allowed to talk above a whisper (and not for long, even at a whisper) and cell phones have to be silenced or off. For another thing, the ride lasts almost seven hours heading south and then you get another seven hours returning. Plenty of time.
I also figured I’d have a couple of early mornings and late evenings to use wisely. So here’s what I took for leisurely reading: the latest Consumer Reports; five New Yorkers, two of them already half-read; a paperback copy of The Moth: 50 True Stories (ask for it at your local indie bookstore); and my e-reader, just in case I wanted a change of mood.
Here’s what I took for work: the submissions of the two Girl Group members who’d be up at bat on the Wednesday after I returned (that means yesterday), so I could read each one at least twice, edit, and put my comments in the margins; a roomy folder holding my blog diary, blog calendar, notebook, a stack of three-by-five cards with blog ideas scribbled on them, and a stack of articles printed out from various newspapers and newsletters, so I could get some blog organizing done.
Call me a dreamer, call me a cockeyed optimist. Almost none of these good intentions came to fruition, as usual. What could I have been thinking?
The most important of all the good intentions was reading and editing the work of my Girl Groupers, and that intention was fulfilled. But the other stuff? Not even close. Oh, wait: I did manage to slog through Consumer Reports while sitting in the Richmond train station waiting for Train #94 to New York. Tossed it into the garbage just as the train pulled in.
It was a lovely trip, a treat to spend time with nephew and niece-to-be, and the only depressing moment came when I got home and unpacked: out came the New Yorkers, out came the paperback, the e-reader, the fat folder of blog stuff, the MacAir I mostly used for e-mail. Will I ever learn? Probably not.
The top photo is Richmond’s amazing Saturday morning farmers’ market; the bottom three photos were taken at the King Family Vineyards in Crozet, VA. Forget reading: the wine was out of this world.
FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast
Edgewater Books, Edgewater, MD
Boxcar and Caboose Bookshop, Saint Johnsbury, VT
Moe’s Books, Berkeley, CA