Last night was an interesting night on the California Zephyr. Basically, the way they run dinner on the train, it's reservation only. I knew this and was a fraidy cat, so instead I just got food in the snack car the first night and for lunch the second day. It was seriously the worst meal ever - they heat everything in the microwave, whether you get a burger, a pizza, or a hot dog. I felt the pizza was the best bet, but I still felt like I might hurl while eating it. Given that I couldn't stomach it anymore, I decided to make a reservation for 1 for the last call in the dining car last night.
Of course, when you make a rezzie for one, you get lumped with people. I got lumped with the two Js, both men in their 50s. J1 was seated next to me on the actual train and had been chatting me up a bit. I always feel this sense of conflict when black men chat me up anywhere. On the one hand, I feel like I have to do my sisterly duty and talk to them and be friendly - you know, we're all in this together kind of thing. On the other hand, I'm a huge loner and just want to ignore strange men, regardless of their race.
At dinner, I learned a lot about the two Js. J2 was traveling to Chicago for a court hearing. He is a former-lawyer turned hairdresser who hung out with Hunter S. Thompson wrote a book about his mother's imprisonment in a nursing home by his father. His mother was beaten, sexually assaulted and mistreated and then made an escape from the nursing home. His book is all about her story. I wasn't really sure how to answer that, so I think I widened my eyes appropriately and said, "Oh, wow. That's awful." He also told us about his "nice Jewish girlfriend" that he sees once a month for a week and how that seems to work for them. J1 told us all about his terrible divorce from wife number 2. He also had lots to say about how awful pretty women are ("No offense, darling."). Needless to say, it was an interesting meal. My friend Vest asked me what I had to share and I told the group the following - I'm a Yankees fan. New York and SF are crazy expensive cities. My parents have been married for like 34 years. I'm single and unmarried.
Later that evening, J1 wanted to talk all damn night about tech gadgets and other foolishness. I'm not a rude person, so I felt like I had to oblige, which I did. This morning, he asked for my contact information and offered to take me to lunch at Benihana sometime. Ick ick ick. Anyhow, I'm now on the Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to NYC and no one has said a damn word to me and thank goodness for that! I'm hoping to do some reading and then sleep. I get in tomorrow around 6pm!