Unlike the Man in Black, when I hear that whistle blowing I don’t hang my head and cry. I snuggle deeper into my pillows and give thanks. It means I’m going to sleep.
Nothing, nothing works like the hoot of a train as a soporific. Not a hot bath, not chamomile tea, not warm milk (yuck) not a belt of bourbon. I’ve never been a great sleeper, and the older I get I suspect that’s because of my frantic dream life, which wakes me up exhausted and appalled. (Dr. Freud on 1.)
That whistle, that chugging — my college friend Llyn said her father called it” TO Chicago FOR tobacco” is like intravenous Ambien. The long rumbling roll of the freight cars, that rhythm, the knowledge that life is going on and and goods are being delivered to somewhere… I listen to it, under my Ikea duvet, and I sleep.
The EJ&E tracks are about five blocks away, and mark the boundaries between the ‘Ville and Fermilab. The mighty CNR (Canadian National Railroad) bought the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern this year and the flap about it is wild. Because the CNR is running more trains through the EJ&E tracks, the city fathers are making them put up a sound-suppressing wall. The CNR is doing it, but my question to my ‘Villian neighbors is “For God’s sake, why?”
You nitwits, you’ll receive more train poetry and music. ” TO Chicago FOR tobacco. TO Chicago For tobacco. TO Chicago FOR tobacco.” I want the chuggachugga as my last slip into the dreamland Great Beyond.