BLOGNAME: LOUDER THAN WORDSAn informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur
By Paul Tomori
Sunday, August 02, 2009 at 22:51:45 (EDT)
I have the good fortune to live close enough to a set of train tracks for the mighty whistles to inculcate happy sentiments, but far enough away to not have our fine China rattling off the shelves every day. I also have a little boy approaching the oh-so-enlightened age of 2 whose fascination with "coocoo-trains" is more or less a rite of passage for every good little North American kid. Any trip to Chapters would not be complete without a visit to the Thomas train tracks in the kids section... and on a near-daily basis, a walk over to the Pen Centre would similarly be unfulfilled without a stop by the resident toy store where again, a set of Thomas train tracks could keep even the most skittish of kids occupied and focussed for at least 15 minutes of pre-juvenile bliss.
Today, was a special treat. With the new GO train service to Niagara, there are two opportunities to see real trains up-close within 15 minutes of each other after supper at our local train station. One is the new Toronto-Niagara GO service which runs on weekends. The other is the old Maple Leaf run from Toronto to New York City. As a side note, any romantic notions of that New York run have previously been struck from my psyche through direct experience when a couple of years ago, my wife and I and two friends and their 6 month old daughter spent an intolerable 16 hours getting to NYC on a worn out Amtrak passenger car. I think we spent more time sitting on the tracks near Poughkeepsie waiting for a series of slow-moving freight trains who had track priority in an infuriating example of horrendous scheduling on the upstate New York train lines, than we did actually in transit getting to Penn Station. However, I digress. Today, I was happily just an aloof observer and not a weary traveller. Today, I took my son to see real trains up-close in all their otherwise fading glory.
The first order of business was to direct my son's attention to the heavy yellow caution lines that mark the "danger" zone by the loading area outside of the train station. No sooner had I completed my insistent lectures on where to stand and more importantly, where NOT to stand, than 4 scruffy post-adolescent scallywags came trudging down the tracks well inside the danger zone (more accurately they were in the "imminent-peril-zone" walking smack dab up the middle of the tracks). My son looked with astonishment then consulted my face to see what I had to say for myself. My credibility was definitely on the line here! So, I told him plainly...'look, there are some stupid people in this world and they are going to get very hurt if they're not careful'. This was not overstating things as the train was due to arrive any minute. The rebel kids got closer and in the distance I could hear the rumble of an approaching train. Of course, these kids were street-smart being dare I say, from the 'other side of the tracks' so they repaired to our side of the yellow lines before it was too late. However, as they neared us on the platform, my little boy felt compelled to scold them a little and in so doing made reference to "stoopid peoples". It was quite funny and fortunately, his enunciation was lacking enough and their attentiveness to a little boy was low enough that I did not have to contend with any brutish retaliations.
Needless to say, they also did not see fit to correct the grammatically-challenged phrasing that spewed forth from my otherwise righteous twenty-one month old.
The first train came moments later followed by the next... right on schedule. In fact, one could have set his watch by the accuracy of the arrival times. I guess there were no priority freight trains at Poughkeepsie today!
And now, 'Stoopid Peoples' may be part of my son's ever-growing lexicon but the vision of big, loud, impressive, rumbling trains will no doubt have left an indelible mark in my little guy's memory banks. It was a good weekend.
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