25 August 2008

On Having to Hang About a Station

Today's a travel day for me, with tickets and stations and transfers. Naturally, I'm not looking ahead with unalloyed joy.

However, I've been visiting some young fellows who are still young enough to enjoy nothing more than train systems. So I remind myself of what G. K. Chesterton wrote in "On Running After One's Hat":

And most of the inconveniences that make men swear or women cry are really sentimental or imaginative inconveniences--things altogether of the mind. For instance, we often hear grown-up people complaining of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train. Did you ever hear a small boy complain of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train?

No; for to him to be inside a railway station is to be inside a cavern of wonder and a palace of poetical pleasures. Because to him the red light and the green light on the signal are like a new sun and a new moon. Because to him when the wooden arm of the signal falls down suddenly, it is as if a great king had thrown down his staff as a signal and started a shrieking tournament of trains.
Shrieking can definitely be involved.

1 comment:

J. L. Bell said...

Bus overbooked. Moved to second bus, lots of room to spread out. At intermediate stop, passengers separated by destination and put onto the two separate buses. Mine now completely full.

Looked up an hour later to see bus was approaching Boston via Route 2. Thought driver had cleverly avoided toll roads. Turned out driver had taken wrong turn. Half-hour late.

Only in Burlington, Vermont, would the bus station graffiti consist almost entirely of the large admonition "GO VEGAN."