witness

I was obsessed with politics and current events from a pretty young age; I blame the first gulf war, and Scholastic for selling that map that allowed me to track battles and occupations with tiny flag stickers. And for my entire life, I wanted a president with heart. Reagan was interesting in that all of… Read More »

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AWP Trek Part 6: Red-eyed gnome invasion

Over 15 years ago I attended Ohio University and lived in Athens, Ohio: a tiny oasis in the Appalachian foothills, beside the Hocking River. It is a place of old buildings and older graves, haunted landmarks and giant iridescent beetles, of purple lightning and scorched summers. In my sophomore year the 17-year cicadas hatched and… Read More »

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AWP Trek Part 5: Morning out of Montana

Almost everyone in my car has two seats to themselves, and while this might not be ideal for Amtrak’s bottom line, it’s the closest to paradise I’ll come for 39 long hours. Instead of an intimate co-sleeping arrangement with a massive gentlemen en route to North Dakota’s pipelines, I’ve made a sloppy nest of laptop… Read More »

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Amtrak PDX to MSP Part 4: No sleep

This is how you know you’re in coach on Amtrak: all the neatly closed and coordinated luggage has been properly stowed in sleeping cars. Coach is not a place of matching sets in modern colors, hard-shelled and adorned with stickers announcing far away cities that might not really exist. We are a tribe of borrowers… Read More »

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Part 3: Montana has us

Once the woman finished her anecdote about bear shit and the obligatory bear shitting in the woods joke, an elderly man in a bright red hat with long white hair (who had been staring at me for hours) finally saw fit to ask a question. That question was: “Is that Yellowstone?” My brain said, “It’s… Read More »

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Day 2: Closer to White Fish

Finally on the train, everyone around me immediately fell asleep, informing a suspicion that Amtrak avoided further confrontation by stuffing those free sandwiches with sedatives. Another way being gluten-free = torture. They thanked me for my services with a seat directly below a light that was always on. Even the observation car was empty, which… Read More »

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Report on AWP Experiment, Day 1

I got off Amtrak today wearing 39 hours of train haze and a body odor generally reserved for detox diets, checked into my hotel, babbled at my partner, hung up on him, showered, and then collapsed for two hours. Two fitful hours of frantic arm itching as each hair follicle threw a tantrum, I thrashed… Read More »

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