A Little Ditty About Mark and Nina ...





Yesterday, my husband and I boarded an Amtrak train bound for Florida to visit family.  We decided to treat ourselves to a roomette.  It’s a roughly 3’ x 6’ space that includes two chairs opposite each other that recline into one bed; a bunk that pulls down above the lower bed; an open toilet that is practically one with the chair; a funky fold-away sink; and a small table that folds open between the two chairs.  Nothing fancy, but we are simple people we thought.

We were very excited when we first entered the room at around noon and neatly placed our belongings in the small cubby opposite the upper bunk.  What a fun way to travel!  We had our own little sanctuary for 24 hours where no one could reach us, and we were grateful for everything including the free water, coffee, and juice.  We quickly opened the folding table, placed our laptop, Ipad, and books on it, and settled in for a day of relaxation and productivity in our small, cozy space.

And so the day continued as we marveled at our good fortune of being able to have peace and quiet in our own intimate room.  I finally finished a book I started reading months ago and began another.  We both made some important phone calls, settled some insurance matters, and other miscellaneous tasks in between trips to the dining car for meals.  The small inconvenience of the open toilet began to get on our nerves as I had to send Mark out of the room at least five times throughout the day.  We’re married over thirty years, but there are still things that we both consider private.  Using the toilet is one of them.  

After dinner we returned to the roomette excited to transform the place into our sleeping quarters.  Like children we jumped in to bed and watched a video snuggled against each other.   So romantic we thought.  We’re such simple people.  Another couple would probably not appreciate this.  After the movie, Mark gallantly climbed to the top bunk to settle in for a good night’s sleep, and I remained below with a smile on my face as I drifted off to sleep somewhere in the Carolina’s I think.  

It wasn’t long before the sound of the train’s incessantly blaring horn awoke me, and I figured I might as well use the toilet while I was awake.  To hell with the modesty -- I told Mark to close his ears and eyes and deal with it.  AT LEAST FIVE TIMES throughout the night this happened.  Thank God I was in the lower bunk.  Damn, being a middle-aged woman on a train is no fun.  Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep, nor did Mark as I had to keep waking him to tell him to close his eyes!!!

Around 4:00 a.m., after listening to the freaking horn all night, someone’s alarm clock went off ... and continued for about an hour.  By now, my husband was awake, and the two of us were complaining about the idiot in the next room who just wouldn’t get up to shut the alarm.  I started mumbling obscenities after about a half hour, then Mark chimed in with obnoxious sounds which kind of sounded like a muffled:  “shut the alarm!”  Before you know it, I was threatening to get a weapon.  What the hell was wrong with the person, and why wasn’t the attendant doing anything????

After about an hour of this, Mark quietly and casually said:  “I think that’s my alarm!!”  He jumped up and fumbled through the cubby to pull out the suitcase that contained his cell phone and silenced his alarm.   After the thirty minute laughing fit that followed, we were finally able to fall asleep for a few hours.  This morning we upgraded to a “real” room for the return trip.  So much for simplicity.  



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