Notes from the train

Written Saturday afternoon as I rode south from Boston:

I’m on the Acela, a few minutes outside New Haven. The car is filling up, but I have no seat companion as yet. The sun was out as we traveled along the Atlantic coast in Rhode Island and the early part of Connecticut, and it was as though we skimmed just above the surface of the water as we crossed coastal inlets and rivers. We’re inland now, and the scenery is, in that peculiar Northeast way, uglier; where there is no trash along the tracks, there are industrial parking lots or brown bracken covered banks. But there are still plots of wetlands here and there among the parked tanker trucks and huddled subdivisions, their backs to the train.

Part of the feeling of coasting is the inexpensive pair of noise cancelling headphones I picked up on my last trip to San Francisco. I’m trying to keep up my policy of listening at least once to every new track I add to my iTunes library, so my iPod is full of enormous lossless copies of various classical and jazz tracks. At the moment it’s the Keller Quartet’s string version of The Art of the Fugue.

In fact, the only thing missing at present is an Internet connection. At the speed we’re moving, no open networks stay accessible long enough to permit a WiFi connection. It’s kind of fun seeing the names of some of the secured ones, though, such as the thoughfully named “Honeypot”. It’s also nice, frankly, just being able to use the laptop, something that becomes just about impossible with the less generously proportioned seats in coach on the airplane.