On the radio today, there was a program about loneliness, and how in this Facebook/blogosphere age more people are lonelier than ever. Something like 30% of the adults out there report feeling lonely most of the time, and how they have no close friends at all.
This was in the back of my mind as the train club met for pre-ops dinner (and board meeting) (and general kvetch session) at an Oriental dive. After far too much food, we headed over to the Longwood & Sweetwater to tag local jobs out of the yard and work around the layout. After greeting even more friends at the session, my long-time pal Richard and I rolled out of Longwood Yard, me in the engine, him back on the crummy as conductor. We were headed for Forest City North, the industrial yard that separates the men from the boys.
We had an interesting evening, with Richard handling the moves and turnouts, and me running the train. It was a lot of shuffling to get everything tucked away but we did it and rumbled back to the Yard. There, we teamed up again on the Altamonte Turn, a much easier run (after Forest City, even Rubik’s Cubes are easy). This ended up being comfortable index switching, with my conductor aligning the turnouts and hand-signaling me back, and me protecting the front end against the Sweetwater Turn who was shunting about a little further up the line. We spotted our cuts, reversed the train and ran back for the yard, easy-peasy.
The thing is, it was a lot of fun. And working with a long-timer like Richard even made it all the more fun. It turned into a two-man cooperative game, getting all those cars in the right spots.
So it makes me sorry for all those poor sods sitting at home in front of the boob tube, sighing that they don’t have friends.
Join a train club. Join a bowling league. Do something.
You don’t know what you are missing.