One of the things most interesting about taking the train a long distance is the people. They are normally nice, thoughtful, and courteous / even if I don’t agree with them political. But sometimes…
I had a very long conversation with a pastor/retired teacher and her husband about the state of the country, of education, of tools and strategies to make the world a kinder, better place. She seemed genuinely interested in helping those struggling with economic and psychological issues (she was also a clinical psychologist specializing in abnormal psychology.) The three of us talked for over an hour.
The next day I heard her cussing out the attendant for our carriage over some trivial thing not the attendant’s responsibility. The attendant, much to their credit, calmly explain the situation, and then told the pastor that they did not appreciate the pastors language or attitude, and that they should not talk to people that way.
Later that same day I overheard the same pastor talking about how important it is to get a room rather than a seat on the train, as the seats are cheap and any “low-life” can get a seat, that they will steal from you, that they study how to pick your pocket, how untrustworthy and disreputable those who cannot afford rooms on the train are.
Pastor, psychologist, elementary school teacher.
Before she got off the train she made a point of coming over to me to tell me how much she’d gotten from our conversation, and how much she’d learned.
Clearly not enough.