I had dropped off a car in Miami and was taking the Tri Rail commuter train up to West Palm Beach where I'd pick up my next car. This one headed to Dallas.
I looked out the window and thought a lot about driving, about cars, about life. Get it together, Bill Thomas!, I mentally scolded myself. Suddenly I had an urgent need to go to the bathroom and got up and started down the stairs to the bottom level of the train. As I came out of the staircase, a stranger grabbed me by the arm. "Hey!" he shouted.
"Yes?" I asked.
"I can't ride backwards."
I nodded. "OK." I started on my way and he grabbed me again.
"Hey, I don't think you understand my problem. I can't ride in a seat facing forward when the train is going backward."
"I completely understand."
"Do you? Cuz I kinda doubt you get the full implications."
"No, I get it, absolutely I do. But I need to get to the bathroom."
He stood in my path. "Well how do you think I feel? I'll be puking and crapping all over the place if I sit facing forward but the train is going back in the backwards direction."
"Then maybe don't sit down?"
He laughed. "That's easy for you to say. It's not you who will become sick as a dog."
"I really do have to go."
"Oh by the way, I'm Herb Jones. I didn't catch your name."
"So Bill, are you gonna try to tell me that you have never heard of this affliction?"
"I find that harder to swallow than my breakfast this morning."
"But it's true."
"So you've never heard of seasickness?"
"Well sure, but we're not at sea."
"Exactly my point! I'm seasick on the train!"
"OK Herb, I really do have to go now."
He walked a circle around me, sizing me up. "So you're one of those guys, huh? Only in it for yourself, and the rest of us can just go to hell. I don't know why I even bothered to share my health issue with you."
I side-stepped him and rushed to the bathroom, barely making it in time. One thing I agreed with Herb about -- I don't know why he bothered to share his health issues with me, either.