We are tearing through the darkness aboard Amtrak #94 to Boston. Maybe the engineer is trying to make up for lost time. At Old Saybrook, Connecticut, we waited 45 minutes for the 94 to navigate a problem to the west – a train broken down on the track, resulting in rerouting and waiting. So we’ll arrive at South Station closer to 11 p.m. than to the scheduled arrival of 10 p.m. No matter. Even when the train is late I love this way of traveling from A to B. In Business Class I have a regular power outlet for the MacBook Air and iPhone charger. We can spread out across four seats tonight. Plenty of room on the night train to Boston.
Our day at Buffalo Bay, an old enclave on the shore in Madison, Connecticut, was a feast of good food, sun, kayaks, old friends and new acquaintances. I even got in a nap upstairs in the 100-year-old cottage, next to an open window scented with breeze from the sea. My friends Ben and Carol were hosting friends from all periods of their lives, along with associated kids collecting stones and gluing them into sculpture under the guidance of one of the guests, who has several years of experience working with four-year-olds. All the ages blended together during a day at the beach. Ben and I glided along the beach in two kayaks. I learned a new way to make lobster rolls after decades of assuming it’s always about mayo and maybe some celery. This crowd served hot lobster rolls, in which melted butter was poured over the meat in a bowl, then scooped into the buns. There were freshly picked blueberries in huge bowls for snacking. At the end of the final meal, Carol entered the front porch carrying a hot dish of blueberry crisp. More blueberries! With vanilla ice cream melting over the tart blue goodness.
While we waited for the train at the Old Saybrook station, I showed Ben around the Twitterhood. He’s a marathoner, which may explain why he’s not likely to tumble to the world of 140 characters soon. He likes to clip articles from real newspapers and send them to me, so he’s not a hot prospect for a Kindle, though Carol is a devoted user. “When did you become so technological?” he asked me during lunch. I tried to remember what tech stuff I was doing in college, but came up blank. “It must have started when I got my first Mac,” I said. I did love my Hermes 3000 typewriter in those days. I really felt as if I were banging out copy when I typed on that sleek, green beauty. The keys were smooth to the fingertip, and the letters struck the page with a satisfying thwack! It’s a direct line from the Hermes to an IBM Selectric, a Radio Shack Model 100, and then the machine that changed everything, my first Mac. Somewhere in that progression of cherished technology I got hooked and gave up the outdoors, or pretending to like the outdoors. What I really love are gadgets that do new stuff, especially if they let me write or create images or sounds that tell stories. Twitter is part of it, of course, and WordPress and podcasting. It’s a lot to explain in response to a casual question from an old friend at lunch. No need to, really. Getting together with old friends is like riding a fast train at night. They both just feel right, and they get better every time.