One of my new buddies from TechShow is Matt Homan of the [non]billable hour. We’re on the same wavelength on a good number of things. He’s “across the river” in Illinois, as we like to say in St. Louis and we were planning to have lunch today until a client crisis postponed our plans.
One of Matt’s friends, I learned, is Evan Schaeffer, who maintains several excellent blogs, including The Illinois Trial Practice Blog and Notes from the (Legal) Underground. Notes from the (Legal) Underground has the kind of inspired wackiness and irony that you don’t often see in lawyer blogs. Since, by definition, lawyer bloggers have more of a sense of humor than other lawyers, I leave you to draw your own conclusions about why there are so few standup comics who were once lawyers.
Anyway, Evan has a great post today about his experience waiting for a long train and how it made him think about what other lawyer bloggers would do in that situation. It’s inside humor, but it’s also a handy list of many of the well-known bloggers.
About me, he says, “Does Dennis Kennedy calculate the rate of passing cars so he can figure out their speed?” Ouch, that hits a little close to home, but it was some of my buddies in high school who did things like that with their Texas Instruments calculators. Howard, Eric, Mike, am I right? These days, I mainly admire the spray paint art as the cars roll by and try to figure out what “no humping” means when painted on a box car.
I grew up in town originally founded by the B & O railroad. The school teams had the nickname of Garrett Railroaders. The train tracks were about 3 blocks from our house and waiting for trains was a regular occurrence for all of us. In fact, blaming a train would almost work as an excuse for getting home too late. Twenty-five years later, they finally put in an underpass that makes a world of difference.
Incredibly, when I went to college, I ended up living in a frat house that was roughly 30 feet away from a set of railroad tracks that we had to cross to get to classes. Some who lacked experience living around trains cracked under the pressure – you’d occasionally see dinner plates sailing out of windows at trains. Or, so I heard.
What I notice now is that far too many drivers have little understanding or respect for trains and, to my horror, will “cheat” across the tracks after the warning gates are down. A classmate of mine who works as a train engineer has told me how long it takes to stop a train and how an engineer is powerless at a certain point to do anything to avoid hitting a car on the tracks.
I figure that it’s better to relax, enjoy the art work and reminisce about how the trains and logos were a lot cooler in the “old days.” It’s also interesting to think about how my grandfather worked on the railroad for many years and told stories about riding in the caboose. Now trains don’t even have cabooses.