Saturday, October 18, 2008

Loud, Atmospheric Talker Broadcasts Backwardly Aboard Train

Riding down from LA to Santa Ana last week, I overheard some silly chatter on an Amtrak train. Seated somewhere behind me was a raspy voiced man speaking loudly in a regional accent about the thrills of Branson, Missouri, and I think some kind of country music festival there. He assured the man he'd accosted and started barking at that this theme park in Branson called Silver Dollar City was a real good time. I enjoyed listening to this talk, I liked the way his voice sounded when he said "Silver Dollar City," and I continued listening when the man started discussing Brazil with another neighbor who happened to be Brazilian. Silver Dollar City has a friend in Brazil, it turns out, a man who "ran from the law" some years ago and has acquired millions down south. Hmm. Slowly the conversation turned to the quality of the Brazilian's English. Silver Dollar City complimented him on it; you see, the first thing the outlaw had done when he landed in Brazil was take lessons in Portuguese. And really, thought Silver Dollar City aloud, you must learn the language of the country you're living in. Here you find lots of people who don't learn English, Silver Dollar City kept on, and that's somehow annoying to him.
Personally I find it annoying when ignorant folks loudly broadcast their narrow views in public spaces, but I decided not to confront Silver Dollar City on it.
Meanwhile, a little old lady had settled herself next to me. I didn't think much about her until a train attendant came by and reminded me that Santa Ana was the next stop. Taking this as an entré to conversation, the little old lady started telling me in Spanish about her visit to Orange County to see family. She has a little spread in Cuernavaca, and was on her way back down. She was happy to share this information with me, and I did my best to understand her fluent remarks. Leaving my seat, I wished her the best, and with a final "adios" I looked pointedly at Silver Dollar City and headed away.