Thu 19 May
This guy one row behind me is on his mobile phone and he won’t shut up, but overall, I’m pretty happy to be traveling for my current business trip — this time very briefly to Washington, D.C. — by train. Amtrak, for all its faults, is a far, far better experience than hauling myself out to the airport and suffering through the perfunctory and arbitrary TSA screening processes before getting on an overcrowded airplane. Between New York and Washington, you just can’t beat the train for how easy and how pleasant it is.
Moreover, these train seats have power outlets, a truly forward thinking feature that makes locomotive travel, in this small way, far more 21st century than the majority of airlines cutting up the sky circa 2005. I’m happily typing this on my laptop, blissfully disregarding battery capacity, and getting a lot done. One day in the future, municipal minds will line the Northeastern rail corridor with 802.11x repeaters the way cities hang Christmas lights along Main Street in December, and passengers will not only have power for their 50 gigahertz laptops, but they’ll have wireless broadband access too.
Right now I’m resigned to queuing up long-delayed replies to patiently waiting emails in my out box until I can get back online and send them, but that’s part of why this is experience is so nice. I’m not tempted to check my email, chat with friends and colleagues via instant messenger, catch up on RSS feeds via my aggregator, wade through links on Del.icio.us. Rather, I’m just getting a heck of a lot done, undisturbed and undistracted. It feels more solidly productive than I’ve felt sitting at my desk (at home or at work) in a long time, and it almost makes me think that I should take a train ride to D.C. once a week just to get the time to myself.