You would think in the Big Apple that you might have yourself a celebrity sighting. Well, I guess I did but first it happened right in Providence. My coworker and I were standing outside the Providence train station, waiting to head off for a week of training, when Martin Sheen stepped out of a car. My friend and I looked at each other slightly bug-eyed; small whispers passed between us as we marveled at our moment in the presence of greatness. I would love to say that I said something profound to the man. I would love say that while my friend blurted out “Mr. Sheen, love your work”, that I said something mildly close to equally so, or made some sort of joke about Big Block of Cheese Day, or even was totally obnoxious and said something like, Yo POTUS! How you doin, Man? But I pretty much just smiled at him widely like a mute school girl. Of course, when I texted some friends moments later, I totally toted that off as me say hello.
Oh, but there are such things as second chances! For after we got off the train at Penn Station and headed up the escalator, I turned to say something to my friend about the insanely dressed and ridiculously jubilant Knicks fans that had just emerged from Madison Square Garden, when lo and behold, Mr. Sheen was standing right behind me. This time I only giggled like a school girl before stammering out, “Oh, hello again!” He smiled and said hello, and what followed as I continued to stare at him was complete and utter awkward silence. I suck.
So that is what I will probably use as my takeaway when I blather on about my trip to New York, but truly what I will remember most are the two most beautiful words that I have heard in a very long time: Quiet Car.
“Would you like to sit in the Quiet Car?” the ticket checking dude asked me as I boarded the train. Uh, sure. I had no idea at the time that what I should have said was HELL TO THE YEAH, TICKET MAN!!!
What followed was three hours of glorious silence. Perhaps a few clicking of laptop keys, a few muted coughs from a scratchy throat, a whisper here or there of someone announcing their departure to the beverage cart; that was all that could be heard. No talking. No crying. No I want to play angry birds. No I’m hungry. No I have to potty. No are we there yet. Just silence.
Oh, except for the time when some idiot behind us was prattling on about his life and the ticket checking dude promptly bitched him out even louder: THIS IS A QUIET CAR! THERE IS NO TALKING!!!
Bitch on, ticket checking dude. Bitch on.
We sat and read, we watched the east coast scenery passing by at 150 miles per hour, and we closed our eyes and drifted into a waking sleep. It was the kind of sleep where you are somewhere else, but still quite aware of all that is around you. And all that was around me was the sweet sound of silence.