Friday, 31 August 2007

Notes from a train

Doesn't anyone just read on trains any more? On a recent journey through Italy, Switzerland and France, I thought I'd stretch my legs and walk the length of the train researching what people actually did during long train journeys. Okay, if I'm honest I wanted to see if people were reading ebooks, but that's beside the point.

What did I discover? Well, most people were asleep (including my husband, who can sleep anywhere, anytime, bless him), the majority of the others were on laptops, either watching movies or playing games. Next came mobile phones - and here I'm going to stop myself from going into rant mode about why people have to shout while they're talking, or about why most of their conversations are so ridiculously ... no, I said I wasn't going to rant. I eavesdropped on some of those conversations (well, it's hard no to, because people speak so darn loud when ... no, I'm not going to rant).

Among the topics that hit my delicate ears ... a party at Anabelle's that Rick was going to be attending and if he didn't have the hottest rear end, then I don't know who has; a deal that had gone south and could have easily been saved if only that idiot had gotten his act together; a lady who had spent so much money on shoes she was going to have to hide them from her husband (well, that particular conversation was in French and mine's limited, but I got the gist of it); a book that was likely to be bigger than Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and if it wasn't he was going to spit and spit some more; a call to Barbara to say thank you for booking the best room in the most expensive hotel in Milan and as a thank you he was going to ... (unfortunately the call cut off when we went through a tunnel, so I don't know what Barbara actually got).

By the time I returned to my seat (and my still snoozing hubby)I felt pretty exhausted, I can tell you, but the walk and the eavesdropping prompted me to get out my notepad and jot down some ideas for scenes, characters and even a potential plot.
Who said no good ever came of listening to private conversations? Although, of course, these weren't exactly private because the callers talked so loudly that the whole darn carriage was forced to listen ... but I'm not going to rant.

Maybe in the future we can have carriages designated as mobile free zones, then at least those of us who actually want to relax with a good book can do so. Just a thought ...

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