Monday, July 17, 2006

No Sleeping on the Tracks



I rarely share stories from my hometown of Charlottesville and the college it houses--The University of Virginia--but this story seemed sufficiently relevant (and for Evan, perhaps redolent). A recent graduate of UVA nearly lost his leg after falling asleep on train tracks that cut through UVA's undergraduate social center--"The Corner District." Fortunately the conductor spotted him and used lights and horns to rouse him; unfortunately, he wasn't able to fully remove his body from the tracks as the train approached.

Several years ago, Evan and I--along with another friend (Hey Dennis, if you're out there)--walked these very tracks, as a shortcut, before finding ourselves perched precariously atop a bridge. Luckily, we weren't drunk enough to keep going, but I recall keenly the moment of panic that ensued--fueled perhaps, by our over-invested memories of that horrible scene from Fried Green Tomatoes in which the man's foot gets caught in the tracks. Anyhow, we survived to laugh about it. But to any misinformed readers out there who think that trains don't run late at night--think again! Freight traffic is very heavy overnight and not all prostrate carousers are lucky enough to hear the horn or see the lights in time to escape.

4 Comments:

Blogger Evan said...

That memory is all too vivid...I'll never forget looking below me to see, in plain view between widely spaced railroad ties, cars moving along University Avenue and shouting back to you and Texas, "Don't leave me!" Texas and I have also spent many a night climbing the fences, against CSX signage, to take the shortcut route along the rails from Downtown back to my apartment on Carrollton Terrace. It's a miracle we weren't killed, by train or lunatic, during those times, considering our intoxicated states.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

AH...it totally was Dennis that night I got caught on the railroad bridge...not Texas. How could I forget...Texas was MIA most of that time, anyway (he still is...anyone heard of him, or is he even still alive?)

9:10 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

I'm feeling better now that you remembered it was Dennis. For a second I thought the wine was catching up to me. I don't think I was with you for the summertime railroad hiking--thank god!

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

Over the years I have a small handful of "how drunk was I to have done THAT" moments? And that debacle was definitely one of them. . .

12:15 PM  

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