Over the last few years, a number of my friends have traveled and told me stories of their exploits. I even crossed the country once or twice. And everything I've heard and experienced has all come down to one thing: Traveling in luxury is a thing of the past.
Back in the heyday of train travel in America, the "business class" if you will still had more space and ambiance than any Italian restaurant you can find that costs less than $$$$ on yelp. Cocktails in the cabin were the norm, and if the media are to be believed, you had a 10% chance of having an epic battle atop a moving train.
But then you had a 50% chance of being the one who's obit reads "death by tunnel."
Today, in America at least, trains have become a shadow of their former selves. There used to be several companies, competing to connect cities and have the longest route. At least, that's what I learned from Ticket to Ride. Now we basically just have Amtrak, and if you have never ridden Amtrak… don't. It's basically hurtling across state lines inside a steel tube that used to be filled with unexploded ugly bombs. It's not even like comparing apples and oranges. It's like comparing a fresh delicious apple that serves you cocktails to a rotting, moldy, rotting orange that gives you hallitosis.
And it doesn't get any better when you lose the rails. Take off into the sky, and suddenly things get a whole lot worse. Again, I've heard tales of ages past where people used to walk around the cabin, eat full meals (their storied quality notwithstanding), and not lose all circulation in their legs the moment the guy in front of them decides to recline. Heck, you could even smoke. Now we get packed in to itty bitty seats and get served itty bitty crackers and pay seven dollars for an itty bitty bottle of scotch. Either Airlines are vastly overestimating the midget population…
…or they just stopped giving a shit about us.
Even personal transportation isn't what it used to be. Granted, I'm sure all our hybrids are delaying Armageddon for another generation or two, but do they have to be so darn small? The Average American used to be able to afford a nice big spacious car, because that's all we had, and probably enjoyed it quite a bit. Now we can barely afford cars that we barely fit in. The other day, I saw a 350 pound Hawaiian get into his Smart Car. It took 45 minutes, and six good Samaritans. If obesity is our countries worst enemy, we are fighting it the wrong way.
So what is causing this decline in human comfort? Was it the nefarious Overpopulation, by forcing us to be able to 'accommodate' more people at a time? It's plausible. Overpopulation has been charged but not convicted for several baby killings in China. But it could have been the March of Progress, which is infamous for slowly taking the humanity out of things. Or could it have been Economy, turning his vengeful eye on our blissful transportation. Though he has been locked up for the last few years on Abandonment charges…
But his fans have been working hard to get him out.
credit: James Keivom
I'm not Hercule Poirot, and it's not likely that I can solve this mystery alone. However, if we work together, maybe we can find the culprit, punish them, and lay this whole situation to rest. If you have a thought on the solution to this Whodunit, put it in the comments, and say why. Together, we will work towards a solution. Because this is unacceptable, and I want to be able to smoke on a plane.
If you are amused, follow me @ZackSWest on twitter. That is all.