I don’t know when or why I came to be freaked out by railroad tracks. I remember liking railroad ties when I was a kid – not that I ever got that close to one. I don’t think I did. Trains and tracks were usually seen from a distance. Except for maybe crossing them. I don’t recall being so quite bothered as a kid.
I really don’t know when or why it bothers me to cross the tracks – but it does. Perhaps not so much on foot as it does when I’m driving. Not when I’m a passenger – but only when I’m the actual driver. There is nothing devastating that happened in my lifetime to make me feel so uneasy – but I am. Even if they’re tracks that haven’t had trains on them for decades.
As a child I had been fascinated by trains. I remember watching them sometimes while going on family vacation when the railroad tracks ran alongside the road we were driving. I remember trying to count all the cars. For a while trains kept me entertained. Not so much now however. Especially if I have to wait for one so I can cross the street.
One time Roland was driving downtown and I was a passenger. The route was quite unfamiliar. We were driving northbound and had just crossed one set of railroad tracks and were approaching another when the arm came down and we had to stop for a rather long train going west bound. After just a few cars (from the train) has passed and there was still no end in sight, Roland considered a three point turn – only a police car was right behind him.
Finally the driver of the police car grew impatient and turned his car around. Just as Roland started his started in with his turn, a train going east bound suddenly crossed the tracks behind us. We were stuck. There was nothing to do but wait. We never did see the end car of the train ahead of us. The east bound train crossed over first and we ended up turning around and driving toward the south. That was before we had Jenna.
Last summer I had enrolled Jenna in a theatre class. It was up at the high school near my sister’s house. For the most part we would just park in her driveway and walk up to the high school. In doing so, we would have to cross a set of railroad tracks on foot. In my mind they had been abandoned – as I don’t recall ever hearing trains in the entire time when I lived in the same city. Trains just don’t seem to be so popular anymore. At least in my neck of the woods.
And actually so many of the abandoned tracks have been used and rebuilt in some places at becoming one form of our current public transportation. They’ve been running for nearly twenty years now and there are still bugs to be worked out. “High speed trains” is what they’re called at the crossing. I knew a bus driver who was literally freaked to have to drive one of those. He declined from operating the train part and just stuck to the busses. He’s probably retired now.
Crossing railroad tracks seems almost unavoidable now. Seems like I am crossing one set or another at least once a week. And I am still uncomfortable with doing it. Perhaps that’s a good thing.