Sunday, June 15, 2008

Down the Styx Railway



Busy these days as a journalist. Name in print again.

Does it count?

Piece on the editorial page on loud trains causing seniors living along the track, many of them British, choke on their breatkfast kippers as the train seems to run throught the middle of the house.and shake the building.

What is it with commuter trains? said one homeless guy along the track: "That CN engineer was blowin' that whitle so hard, I sweah he was a queeah."

Noise. Noise. Anybody living along the track of the GO commuter trains going north and south between Newmarket and Toronto, is all-too-famiar with a series of spine-thumping blasts early morning and late afternoon, and onto dinner time. The anti-noise bylaw is surely violated. But this is GO. Government of Ontario, and we're surely feeling a Queen's Park presence. You can hear the whistle anywhere int the 16-square- miles of the town. An even then you have to cover your ears. It's not a regular noise. It encompasses a full hearing range and beyond. Likely white noise too, and and damaging to ear and spine.
It blanks out the morning and evening news on television, grannies drop their dishes as they put their hands to their hears, still wet ffrom dishwashing.

The soul of a suicide rises up from a level crossing.. The whistle is supposed to clear the track. But the suicide is ingenious, will go right past the wim-wam, the barrier and walk right into the front of the locomotive. Agh.
Horrible industry. Anything but the old-age home? I'm sure sociologists will write theses. Closely footnoted.
And the poor old ladies will keep offing themselfs on the track. And newspaper protocol is not to publicize suicide. Back into it: "Police have ruled out foul play in level crossing death."

Jane Doe dead in her tracks. Flowers up on the flashing light support beams.
I am trying to comfort relatives as they put up their flowers.
Newspaper guy. Something of an ogre. Getting the story. The sadness of the relaives at trackside is palpable. And the locomotive god will keep on thundering. And life will go on.

Piss on your technology and your efficiency. It could not stop the woman from dying. Depresson? A cross-over of medication? We don't know. So honk your whisle as if nothing happened.

Train song.


10 comments:

ea monroe said...

Down the Styx Railway. I really like that, Ivan.

Trains run smack through the middle of Norman, OK, too. Mile long trains that back traffic up for 30 or more minutes (too bad if one's waiting on an ambulance). If one can make it across town without getting stuck at a railroad track, it's a lucky day.

There have been a few suicides on the tracks here, too. The latest last year.

I'm glad to see you're busy with journalism again! ~Liz

Midnight said...

Yeah so, are you really a journalist now, or are you still pissed Monday mornings around 5, as every proper writer should be?

And don't blame it on the wicked train...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Liz,

I swear that even after something like World War Three, mysterious trains will keep on speeding through the night and and stopping traffic all the day.
Maybe I'm a little obsessed with the Texas Railway Company, founder of OPEC.
And right now, OPEC seems to rule.

Ambulances and fire trucks today have to play chicken withe the trains to get to the hospital.
I guess it's the same story from here to Oklahoma and back.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Guily on both counts.

And I am still pissed.

(That's Canadian usage for drunk).

benjibopper said...

trains are haunting things, inside and out. had a friend killed by one when i was a kid. the sound of the whistle in the night gave me chills after that.

congrats on the journalisty work.

Midnight said...

As if trains aren't enough, ambulances here in T.O. now have to negotiate speed bumps on side streets, attendants holding the patients down, so they don't hit the roof...

Another Canadian usage for pissed.

(and if you're up by eleven, all is forgiven).

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Midnight. Heh.
Thnx.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

No wonder so many train songs.

From Hank Williams to Hank Slush, and certainly Arlo Guthrie.

Yes,losing a friend like that would certainly have the klaxon sound give your a shudder.

Charles Gramlich said...

"Train, train, take me on out of this town."

I guess this one did.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

You just back, Charles?

Guess Lana's glad.