26 November 2009

Train Stories Part One

I have lost count how many times I have traveled the North Coast line on the XPT from North Coast to Sydney. Mostly from Grafton but occasionally from Lismore or Casino. It is absolutely amazing the stories that I have collected over that time.

1990 - I played third trumpet in a stage band. At some point in time we traveled to Sydney to partake in a band camp. We left late at night from Grafton catching the Brisbane to Sydney Express. Four of us did not sleep at all on the way there and game quickly developed. "How long were people taking to go to the bathroom." The stop watch would start as soon as the red occupied light would switch on. Someone had obviously been drinking pretty heavily or he suffered from the worst case of motion sickness. He set the then record at 21 minutes and 15 seconds. You could hear his efforts to bring up the entire contents of his stomach. We couldn't hold out curiosity in check. The guy had plastered every inch of the toilet cubicle with vomit. Dutifully we informed the staff. The poor guy sent to check it out took one step in then one step out and proceeded to wipe his shoe on the mat. The door was locked and a record of 6 hours and 42 minutes was set.

1994 - I attended a Sydney boarding school for years eleven and twelve. On one particular trip home the guy sitting beside me got off at Sawtell. "Yes I have the whole two seats to myself for the trip home" I thought to myself. This lasted one station at Coffs Harbour and short, gaunt, long, black and scruffy haired and bearded man wearing an original Cronulla Sharks jersey and tight black stone wash jeans stood at the entrance to the carriage and called out "Madamoiselle? Excuse me mademoiselle?" to the ticket collector. He was quickly shown to the seat next to me. 
Sometime during the journey he produced a set of rosemary beads and began chanting the Hail Mary.
Hail Mary,

Full of Grace,

The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.

"OK" I thought. "A religious guy."
Not long after this he slams his palm on to the food tray and the chants. "I love you Jesus, I love you Jesus" pauses for about ten seconds then exclaims I am Jesus.
Now this is where I got a little scared and a little confused. I always thought Jesus was a Jew so why was he saying the Hail Mary?
Thankfully he remain quiet for the rest of the trip to Grafton. When I got up to get off the train I hear him cry "Up the Sharkies!" I turn around to look at the poor souls staying on the train. They each have the same "Don't leave us here" expression.

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