Taking the southern California Metrolink south on a Saturday in August is not for wimps.
But it was our great experiment! We two sisters would board the train in the early morning, the crispness of the air a comfort after so many days of punishing heat. We would drift smoothly southward toward another sister and meet her a reasonable distance away. We would most certainly shop, and most certainly have lunch somewhere smashing, with lovely time to talk through whatever it is that needs talking through while we eat/shop/sit/have ice creams. A much needed change of scenery.
All of the important elements of this dream did, in fact, come true. We did drift smoothly southward, we did most certainly shop and have lunch at somewhere smashing, and did have ice creams (well, frozen yogurt) while we chatted. All of this was just as we had hoped. But the cooler beachy weather somehow had not materialized and we languished under hot skies, my dear Readers. As well, Metrolink and Amtrak produced a plethora of travelers! They were everywhere and we all crammed ourselves together into train cars that were crammed already with people from before when we go on. Don't these people have homes?, I wondered.
And then, I realized: it was a beach Saturday, of course! As a southern Californian I should have known. The beach IS their home, on a Saturday, in August, with cheap weekend fares and the promise of sea air. It was perfectly understandable. IF ONLY IT HADN'T BEEN SO HOT.
But gathering with one's sisters has the immediate effect of brightening one's aspect. Distracting one from any outward discomfort. Bringing out the laughter at the drop of a hat while celebrating someone's birthday in real style. Brilliant! Who cared if at the end we would probably all look like we had been in a sauna for days? We were with our sisters, and as such, were blessed. All other concerns shrank next to this utter truth:
Sisters. Sisters. There were never such devoted sisters.
See you along the way!
P.S. As we traveled in the morning, there next to us at a train table sat four young school boys, studying together. For over 2 hours they worked on Algebra, quizzing one another, text books opened, notebooks and pencils in constant use. The eldest helped the youngest. We guessed that they were related, perhaps brothers, or cousins. They were somewhere between 13 and 17 years of age, and were astounding. They didn't think they were astounding, they were just doing what needed to be done. All of the crowds and all of the heat of that day were worth it, just to see those hard-working boys - diligent, smart, and bilingual. America is better off today because of young people such as these. Yay and Hooray!
(The ticket machine for Metrolink is an I.Q. test)