A few years ago, the Mrs. and I donned backpacks and scooted our backsides across Europe. One evening, on a train ride through Germany, I had a German beer and Dramamine-fueled epiphany. Luckily, my wife captured the bloated bloviation on film.

I’ve transcribed it for your reading pleasure, prepare to be underwhelmed:

“Come here… I get it… standing here, drinking my beer, looking out the window in a train from Prague to Frankford… I get it.

All that stuff that we see out there from the window seems like unimportant, little values and shapes and sizes and colours and blips and blops… large pockets of dark, some of which have been slightly industrialized or settled, some of which have been left completely natural… but it means nothing. It’s just kind of a backdrop. It’s the ambient noise and the ambient visuals that go on in the background of a train ride.

BUT, how many times have we found ourselves, sitting in a small town or city… or in the countryside and we see a train go by? …and that is the ambient noise of our afternoon… so we’re now impeding on their peacefulness.

So, we are taking a single line, from point A to point B, and all we see are the Infinitesimals and complexities of life, lower and higher, for hundreds of thousands of miles, stretched out on either side… and we sit by a little train window and look out… and they are next to nothing to us and we are next to nothing to them… except for a little yellowish light that stays still as we whiz by or a yellowish light that whizzes by as they stay still.  Get it?”

5 Responses to “The Train Monologue”
  1. Yurii says:

    Splendid! I’ve had similar epiphanies but with driving by in a car and corners of buildings and birds. and sometimes the curious apt balcony.

  2. Diane says:

    I’d like her response transcribed, as well… 🙂

  3. Todd Marrone says:

    Her response is mysteriously absent from the footage.

  4. ronnie says:

    that’s very true. i think about that quite a bit but have never been able to formulate it into words. you’ve done it brilliantly.

  5. Jerry says:

    Reading your experience I thought about an overwhelming recurring though I often had driving in the very early morning hours.
    As I drove the NJ Turnpike very early each morning I would wonder where so many people alone in their vehicles were going. I assured myself, to their work, which was as important to them as mine to me. My trips were only for a couple of months for a particular project. But as my project neared it’s end I thought how much like ants we are. We go about our lives to and from work, only to build our own colony, as we too have been bred to do. I would think, what is the point?
    Then, to feel better about the purpose of my life, I would remember a quote from Pythagoras
    “Man is the measurement of all things”.
    Life is as good or bad as we make it in this very special place on earth at this very special time in history. My responsibility must be, in some small way, to make it good for those not so lucky. So I remember another quote this one from Edmond Burke “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little”. I try to live my life according to Emerson’s essay “Success”.