The Northeast corridor on Amtrak is a convenient mode of transportation for frequent DC/NY/Boston travelers that makes it easy to forge connections with those you regularly see aboard the train. Whenever I start queuing up at Union Station, I wonder if I’m going to see a familiar face—or meet a friendly stranger. Unlike the airlines, train passengers get to pick their own seats, so I typically look for an attractive man sans wedding ring to sit next to.
A few months ago, I was heading back from a business trip in New York and snagged a window seat in an empty row when I boarded the train at Penn Station. A few seconds before we started moving, a handsome guy in a nice, albeit slightly wrinkled suit, ran down the aisle, threw himself into the seat next to me and let out a long sigh.
“Hi,” he said, grinning at me with perfect white teeth, “This seat taken?”
I pulled an earbud out and smiled back, thrilled with this development.
“Nope, it’s all you.”
I turned my attention back to my laptop screen but felt my cheeks turning pink. He was hot! I never get to sit next to the cute ones! Yay for three-hour train rides!
Is It Gettin’ Hot in Here?
I tried to sneak a couple sideways glances at him but just proceeded to make myself dizzy as the train picked up speed.
After about 20 minutes of staring into space, cutie seatmate stood up and gestured to his bag on the floor. “Mind watching this while I grab a drink,” he asked me.
“No problem,” I purred in what I hoped was my most flirtatious voice before he ambled away.
Moments later he returned with four Bud Lights nestled in one of those multicup “to-go” containers you typically see at Starbucks or other coffee shops. I wonder if he got me a drink, I thought. Man, this trip home is really looking up!
Before I even opened my mouth, he proceeded to open all at once and methodically chugged for a solid eight minutes until each beer had been consumed in its entirety.
The Train Boy Fantasy Fades
I watched in amazement. It was the closest I’d witnessed to someone shotgunning beers since college. He looked so professional—so polished—and yet, anyone gulping shitty beer on the regional Amtrak clearly had something bigger going on.
He burped loudly. “‘Scuse me,” he slurred.
Oh God, oh God. Was he going to puke? I am deathly afraid of vomit and could NOT handle being confined to the window seat of a moving train while someone blew chunks next to me.
I smiled tightly and shifted away from him.
Train Rides Make Him Thirsty
About 10 minutes later, he turned my way again. With his now boozy, beery breath he asked if I’d keep an eye on his bag. This time, I barely nodded before he was up and walking towards the dining car again on slightly less steady legs. Damn. He looked good in a suit.
Slightly disgusted with myself, I started rationalizing his drinking. Maybe he had a rough week. Maybe he’s pregaming and about to head out with some friends? Maybe he’s about to come back with a platter of food to soak up the booze.
But no. A couple minutes later he returned with another four beers which he opened and sucked down with similar speed. In under an hour, my hot train boy had finished eight cans.
Now, I’m no teetotaler, but eight drinks in 50 minutes seems extreme for a three-hour train ride.
A little while later my seatmate loosened his belt, removed his tie, and settled down deeper in his seat with arms crossed over his chest like a strict dad. Within minutes he was passed out and snoring next to my shoulder. A little river of drool snaked down his cheek.
Ugh, I thought. Just my luck. Even the cute guys disappoint you.
Commuter Crush is published every Friday, just in time for your unintentional weekend hookups (or while you’re recovering from a debaucherous Thursday night). If you have an interesting story to share, let us know via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us with #commutercrush.