10 December 2018
I pick up dirty clothes from the bedroom and bath. Want to take them out to the washing machine. Still catching up with dirty laundry from the trip. The first few days back I just sat and rested, recovering from the cold that tortured me on the forty-hour train trip from New Orleans to California.
While I pick up dirty clothes in the bathroom, I pause to use the toilet. As I stand there, making sure I don’t spray onto the floor, to keep it straight into the bowl of the mighty throne, I remember how I struggled to do this on the train with the small facilities provided. Even weirder was the in-room toilet which every viewliner roomette features as a convenience. It was definitely not convenient to stand there hanging on for dear life while the train rocked back and forth, and I carefully kept the stream falling straight into the rounded bowl with its little hole at the bottom.
I very quickly learned to take advantage of our stopping for freight trains, in order to do my liquidating business while the train stood still. That was a blessing in disguise, i.e. even though we lost time because we were already late and then we were later, yet it was good to stand still because then I could stand still.
Worse was when I had to sit down and do that second business, usually once a day. It was hard for this big guy to sit down into the restricted space in the viewliner roomette, between the corridor wall (I had closed and velcro-sealed the curtains) and the sharp edge of the bed/seat boundary. I had to settle back carefully, turn my legs slightly to one side, and squeeze my big fat behind into that narrow seating space.
Once again, I swore to myself I will not go on any more train trips, not on any more trips anywhere, until I lose at least another hundred pounds. By then I will be coming close to almost normal size – normal for a man who is six feet tall and rather big-boned, as the saying goes.
Nevertheless, I managed to get it done. Both in the private roomette facilities back east, as well as in the superliner shared toilets out west.
Now it is nothing but a memory, whose echoes taunt and trouble me while I pick up dirty clothes from the floor and carry them out to the washing machine.
Life is sweet, and bitter. Sometimes both.