I awake to a world that remains gray and wet, and hope Chicago itself isn’t likewise, or I’ll almost certainly spend my layover in the station. Still, it’s light enough now to see again, and we pass a series of fields with isolated houses, followed by the occasional and inexplicable little development… 10 or 12 identical houses sit clustered around a cul-de-sac in the midst of essentially nothing, while a school bus trundles through without stopping.
It seems like people on the train get up with the sun (such as it is today), though I wonder if that’s because our Chicago arrival is relatively early. The lounge car fills up as I sit and look out the windows. Feeling guilty, I give up my seat at a table to a family speaking amongst each other in what sounds like German, but I guess could be Dutch, dressed in homespun, blue and black, white bonnets or black suspenders. I’m told that the Amish and Mennonites take the train quite a bit… a loophole or special dispensation from their otherwise low-tech way of life. But then, later, I see one of the men using a cell phone, and begin to wonder if, once they leave their community, all bets are off and they get to do what they want. Like walking out into the world happens through a hole in the sheet (inside joke, couldn’t help it).
I consider buying breakfast, but I kind of want to leave the dining car a mystery for a bit longer, and have some granola bars and such that should suffice anyway, and save some money. Besides, the lounge car is comfortable, amongst the chatter of the other passengers, and I don’t really have much desire to upset my calm by moving.