Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The workmen get on wherever they are. They're relaxed, laughing. They wear hardhats, sunglasses, toolbelts, workboots, sweatshirts. They chat with the off-conductor, flirt. They peer over the shoulder of the conductor. They're alert. They listen. They watch what you don't see out the window. They sway easily with the movement of the train. They joke about retirement, but you can tell the car feels like home. Midway between two stops, the train slows. Comes to a halt. They tap their hard hats, pull up their belts, make a joke, get off. The doors slide shut. They walk along a stretch of rail you'll never probably see up close, towards some sort of power box you'll never open. When they need a ride, they'll call somebody, get back on the train, ride up the line to the next thing that needs fixing.