where hypotheses come to die (madman101) wrote,
where hypotheses come to die
madman101

Prisoner of the Rails.

Recently, in bed, it felt like being back in the bowels of a grain train car, cramped like a fetus and batting off spiders.

To rescue the son of a girlfriend, who was being held by obscure relatives, and missing the beginning of the school year. I promised her I would go to Seattle and bring him back myself, even though I had no car.  I ride-shared through Minnesota, hitch-hiked to Sheridan, WY, slept by the side of the road, having my first experience of heavy, cold CFS fatigue, then took hopped a grain train to Washington state, and finally hitch-hiked to Seattle.  To take the grain train, I had to wait in a RR yard in Butte, or some MT city, looking for a train to start up, and going in the right direction.  One started moving, so I scampered beneath and around other trains, and caught a grain car while running alongside...

Grain cars are shaped like elongated "V's", with flat bottoms.  Underneath each side of the "V", at the bottom, is a metal "wall" containing a cubby hole.  That's what I climbed into, to avoid being seen, until we were off and running, through the night mountains of Montana and Idaho, which was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  Seeing the silent mirror lakes, the many elk, the forests, the valleys, the solitary wilderness.  Winding and turning through the mountains.

At a few points, I had to slip back into the cubby whole, to avoid being seen by the guys up in the engine car, as the train curved.  There was one especially wide, 180 degree turn that had my car in view for some time.  I might have stayed out to long.  Later, the long train came to a stop, and one guy started looking in the cubby holes of cars.  I have heard that RR workers really hate "hobo's", and one can get into legal trouble for boarding.  One option for me was to hop out, into the middle of nowhere, surrounded by bears and BigFoot, and what?  Try to hop back on the next train somehow?  How?  When?  Impossible!

As the guy made his way towards my car, I wondered if I would be physically be able to slip inside the even tinier cubby hole which was INSIDE my cubby hole, even further into the bottom of the "V".  For some reason, there was a fair sized piece of corrugated cardboard in my cubby hole, so I thought I could use that as a visual shield.  I gave it a try, squeezing through the tiny circular "doorway", inside, holding the cardboard in front of me.  The guy finally got to me, looked in, and - it worked!  Because no one would expect anyone would ever slip inside the even-smaller cubby hole!  All the guy saw was cardboard at the back of the main cubby hole!

But, I was stuck in that tiny hollow for some while, cold, awkward, and contending with spiders that live stationary and alone, yet traverse thousands of miles.  Here, the beginnings of my CFS cut into my bones, with the cold and fatigue.  One of the offerings of CFS is poor thermoregulation by the brain.  Not always, but during, "relapse."  I didn't know I had CFS, then, and just felt cramped, threatened, cold, and unavailing of the slightest luxury.  can't remember if I had any food with me.  Probably trail snacks.  Anyway, I have felt that way, here, in recent days, completely put off my latest, seemingly permanent relapse, i.e., interment.  Pickling.  Canning.  Entombment in a spider's lair - this is what my life has become.  Just waiting.  Waiting.  Ednuring.  Crossing over...

After that, I hitched into a city outside of Seattle, with a boy-scout leader.  (Always on the prowl, eh?) Interesting terrain in central Washington - great pocks in the earth, carved by huge eddies during the Massive Lake Missoula (flash-) Flood, only thousands of years ago.  So, I spent the night in a very lush, green rest-area, interchange type of place just before the city.  I slept in the somewhat wooded median in the middle of the highway.  Got another ride in the morning.  Found the house, asked for the son, and off we went.  I was too exhausted to take the kid on a training experience, so I used my credit card to carry us home via bus and motel.  In the later, we both tried out a vibrating motel bed, which reminds me of a Death Cab song.  He was happy, at least, to hear me tell him of Custer versus the Blackfoot tribes.

Arrived in Madison, needing sleep.  GF was thankful, but not for long, and soon resumed her annoying, dysfunctional stuff.  All that is another story.  Anyway, it seems I have been predisposed to CFS for some time, for as I returned home from a month-long surrey through the west, during high-school days, I was so exhausted that I slept for 2 or 3 days.  But that was nothing like when I really crashed, and my whole life fell apart.  I tried to pull myself out of that, in the spirit of daring to rescue that boy, but CFS insisted on overwhelming me.  I had to quit a job in Philly, and basically quit the world.  Becoming, lately, some sort of toy for the arachnids.
Tags: my great adventures, my life as a hobo, my past, trains
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