A midnight train to Georgia. . .

. . . is not possible to book from Miami.

Wouldn’t that be a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve?
In motion, On the Way

It’s not that there’s not a train from Miami to Georgia. Just that the timetable’s backwards: leaving at noon, arriving at midnight.

1.24 am in Savannah to be precise. And while I’ve definitely arrived at that hour in the city that never sleeps, my uneducated and no doubt biased sense of Georgia’s fifth largest municipality is that the Hostess City is more sleepy than sleepless. So I booked a midnight bus instead, arriving at noon on New Year’s day.

I felt renewed for the journey with my second day in Miami. Breakfast was several hours, including a glass or two of rose, working through some year-end Ignatian exercises in the verdant garden of a scruffy French cafe just off Espaniola Way.

Then, a carefully researched cubano sandwich at an off-the-grid lunch counter. Followed by happy hour at the secretly public luxury hotel pool bar where my new favorite bartender Patricia was working and I met some folks visiting from Marblehead (Bizarrely, I’d met a couple from Beverly a few nights previous in Naples.)

I swung back through my hostel for some house punch in the courtyard to watch the beautiful people arrive for a New Year’s Eve fete. [If I got a perm, would I have a jewfro? Or just a perm?]

Then some provisions for the 13 hour bus ride ahead from the grocery store across the street where I was not expecting to have to speak Spanish and off to the city bus stop where I met a cook at a new two-month old hotel who offered me his friends-and-family discount for the next time I’m in town.

In case you’re unfamiliar, bus stations are funny places. They’re not usually accessible by public transit (because everyone obviously is driving themselves?) and are not surrounded by many commercial enterprises. Most upsetting for me, bus travelers, apparently, don’t factor in to Starbucks new location identification algorithm.

[Also a note that while I’ve recently been reminded that the rest of the world doesn’t always take kindly to Bostonians talking about how much better they are than everyone else, it really is hard to ignore how superior Boston’s bus terminal is to every other I’ve ever seen. It’s a completely different animal. No doubt because we paid for it. . .]

I was especially struck by the very interesting array of dental work on display in the waiting room in Miami.
“How do you chew when in possession of those particular three teeth?”
“I’ve never seen such a golden smile. Seriously. How many troy ounces?”

It’s in fact a pretty diverse crowd. I try to do my part representing college-educated white males. Otherwise it’s pretty much equal parts confederate flags and doo-rags.

At our 3 am hour-long rest stop in Orlando, I ordered up some fresh brewed coffee from the vending machine and noticed that there were a few more people queuing to get on than had gotten off. . . I might have to share a seat. . .Should I make an alliance? Or take my chances?

My options for a preferential seatmate were admittedly limited. The blindingly white Lacoste shirt was promising, but the wearer spoke only the equivalent of what must have been Swahili and tried to get off at every stop. . .all that moving and explaining in sign language could get tiresome.

Otherwise the obviously smart but chatty 20-something with a carefully curated EDM playlist she created hand motions for? Probably not.

Ultimately, I decided that chances were in fact slim the entire bus was sold out on this New Year’s train to Georgia so my best strategy was to possess my space with as much presence as I could muster. The very last open seat on that bus was going to be next to me, and if it even occurred to you that you could ask to sit there you’d have to be a sociopath (which would at least result in an interesting conversation).

Luxuriating in open space and weefee, I did a little research into the meaning of that promiscuous midnight train reference. Turns out it’s incredibly irrelevant. The singer’s following her lover back to Georgia where they hope to settle after failing to make it in Los Angeles.

My New Year’s journey is completely different: forward and progressive and venturing.

And northward. . . How remarkable that I’ve been so far south in my journey, Georgia is North! There’s some relativism for y’all.

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