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Five Years Ago

Five years ago, I was on an Amtrak train headed from Sacramento, California to Eugene, Oregon. The trip didn’t even start out normally: we were supposed to leave from Sacramento at midnight, but a tree fell onto the engine in Santa Monica (or so the loudspeaker voice announced), delaying the train 6 hours. Because the Amtrak line was being repaired, this initial delay meant that the train missed all the narrow windows it had been scheduled to run on the transport line, all the way north. Getting shunted onto a siding was peculiar, at first. Then I realized we were shunted to the side more frequently, for longer stretches of time. Six hours into the trip, they told us we were going to be late, which was before we got stuck in the mountains, sidetracked, out of cellular communications range. The railroad had to drive down to tell us the track was clear. We spent three hours on the track that time. Another time we sat for three hours because the crew had worked their limit, so the train was halted in the middle of nowhere while a new crew was brought by car. Over and over this happened. When we arrived in Eugene, we were something like 36 hours late, and for most of the time we’d been isolated, unable to use cell phones to call out and without television, radio, or Internet.

I found out that the war had begunFor the whole time we’d been isolated, unable to use cell phones to call out and without television or radio.

So it came as a shock on the morning of the 19th to find out that we had

Being isolated on this moving prison, we had no media, no online access, and no cell phones. When I boarded the train, the saber rattling from the US had become deafening, and everyone was saying that an invasion of Iraq was inevitable. No one knew when it would happen. the war was inevitable