Last night at bedtime we flipped through the book Trains: An Illustrated History From Steam Locomotives to High-Speed Rail. Once you’ve looked at the 300-some pages of photos and drawings 300-some times, you begin to dig deep for entertainment. For yourself. The Child finds the bulldog nosed engines as fascinating as when he first saw them.
During the Italian high speed train pages, I mentioned to our little train enthusiast that I’d been on trains like that in Italy. Sadly, he is no longer impressed when one of us mentions specific train rides; he has had several of his own museum and commuter train experiences in the last couple years.
You tell him you used to ride the train past famous national monuments every day, and he thinks, “Anyway, I was on a REAL STEAM TRAIN LAST MONTH!”
When he failed to acknowledge the privilege and majesty of my Italian train hopping, I took the story up a notch.
“When I was on a train in Italy, I accidentally went to a wrong city.”
He looked at me. Ah, I’d hooked him.
“Ya,” I continued, all breezy and continental, “I got on a train. When we got to our final destination, I looked out the window and said, ‘What? Where? Wheeeere?!?’ I was in the wrong city. I was accidentally in Milan.”
This was, to a four-year-old train-obsessed child, the most mind-bending conceivable plot twist. This was somehow less believable than monsters attending a university.
“During the train ride, the train split into two separate trains. But I didn’t know it.”
Well, that was it. I’d told him the story of the century. He just couldn’t believe it. He was so excited he bolted out of bed to tell The Swedelock that momma had “accidentally slept for too long on a train and it uncoupled, and she didn’t know it, and SHE WENT TO THE WRONG CITY!”
And, really, it wasn’t even a story. I hadn’t told him where I was coming from (serious hijinks with three girlfriends, who’d gone on to the Pink Palace). I didn’t tell him about my attempts to put Italian sounding endings on French words in order to find my way to my real destination: a convent in Venice. There was no arc, or art to the thing. But it was a best thing.
In my scrap book I’d marked my Italian trip, including Milan’s train station with a “!?!”
Today he took an accidental nap in the car. When we arrived at our destination, I sat with the engine running, to give him (myself) a chance to rest (flip through Facebook).
Before his eyes popped open, he woke up laughing, “I don’t know why momma got on the wrong part of the train and went to the wrong city!”
So that’s the story. I’m the clown, and not the world adventurer. The one who doesn’t know how trains work. And, really isn’t that the same thing I said about it!?!