The sociability of a waiting room

There’s not much to do in a waiting room when you’re waiting for a late train. People who take trains talk. They exchange stories. They cross lines.

“I’m the only one in here wearing a bow tie,” the crisply dressed man said on the phone. “I’ll have on a maroon and gold tie.”


“I’m meeting a man I don’t know,”  he told me. “He says he’s wearing a flannel shirt. He’s buying my mother’s six-year-old Buick. I put in on Craigslist and a man from Minot, N.D. saw it. That’s where all this crazy oil and gas craze is going on. Oil companies have bought apartment buildings. They’re raising rents from $250 to $2,000. Used cars have disappeared. So have car parts like spark plugs. It’s even affecting Minnesota. We’re having trouble finding plumbers. They’re all going where the work is.”

What line of work are you in? I asked.

He’s a chief investment officer for a major university.


“Right about now I bet you’re wishing you charged more than $11,000,”I  said.

“How’d you know?” he answered.

Ivy league meets flannel shirt

Another butterhead trade

The trade of the day: A huge butternut squash from my garden — it could feed a family of four — for one large Greek salad with chicken from Butterhead Greens, my favorite Savannah restaurant. Perfect for a long train ride on the Silver Meteor to New York City (then the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, then the Empire Builder to Minneapolis. Whew. I better eat slowly to make it last.

Good train food