Monday, May 1, 2017

Malice Domestic and Transportational

Annamaria on Monday

Most of this blog would have been pictures anyway, because I spent the weekend at the Malice Domestic conference in Bethesda Maryland, and I would have reported on it—the premier conference for traditional mysteries in the USA. 

Babies making friends at Penn Station

Even with the hour-long train delay on the way from NYC to Washington to Union Station Washington, worth it for all the delightful distractions of being with my tribe, which in this case included our own fabulous Sujata. 

Then, once the conference was winding down, a stroke of what felt like luck—a chance on Sunday to take an earlier train and get home before 9 o'clock at night. Hurrah, right? Not so fast, my friend.

The quiet car, in which I hoped to work on my manuscript, had broken air conditioning. The temperature when I sat down in my seat felt around 99.  Okay, maybe it was only 97. And the rest of the train was packed on a Sunday afternoon. So off I went in a railroad car the conductor described as having a sauna temperature.  She brought us cold water, and I worked over my WIP.

But by the time we arrived at Philadelphia, my cheeks were red, and I had what felt like second-degree heat stroke.

I got up for a while and stood in between the cars so that I could cool off. I felt a little woozy. The conductor, a splendid woman who was doing a fabulous job controlling the tempers of a carload of overheated travelers, said she was going to put me in the first class car which was air-conditioned. How great, huh?

The conductor in the first class car took my hand to escort me over the bouncing connection between the cars and into first class. She let me go just as the train lurched – one of those 7.2 Richter scale lurches that, of all the railroads worldwide, only Amtrak can deliver. My left hip crashed into the arm of the nearby seat.  The railroad employee sitting there tried to help me by grabbing my arm, but ended up wrenching my shoulder.

Once I recovered my equilibrium, I let out a groan and sat down across the aisle. The occupant of the window seat next to me, a woman who seemed to be about my age said, "Oh, you’re not really hurt.  I can see you're a tough old bird."

You will all, I am sure, feel very proud of me. I did not weep. I did not punch her. I was perfectly cordial and answered her questions, even the one about my religious beliefs.  Even when she insisted that I must believe in God, because God is infinite love.

I have been home for a few hours now. And I am feeling better.



  1. Now, if that conductor had only dragged you into that car before you played human pinball with the armrest, I'd have said you had United 2.0 experience. Glad the medicine worked.

    1. My bro, If only we had train service like what I find in Italy. It's getting so that I am distressed whichever side of the pond I am on: fuming because Americans are not allowed to have a decent train system.

  2. One of the reasons I dread long airplane flights (not even necessarily on United) is being a captive audience to the person seated next to me. I have watched several truly awful movies in order to avoid their harangues. I guess Amtrack doesn't offer that option even in first class...
    Stick with the medicine. Twice daily with meals.

    1. Oh, Michael, you are so right. My defense against those evil spirits is usually to put on headphones, plug into my computer playlist and work on my WIP.

      I am taking my medicine--only with my evening meal, but a double dose!

  3. Sorry to hear of the rough ride. Glad you had a good time otherwise. Medicine truly is the best medicine...

    1. Fortunately for me me, EvKa, my drugs of choice are all legal: Coffee, wine, and chocolate. As I consider it, writing fiction is the best thing I can imagine for my mental health. Lucky me!

  4. So great to see you in New York, Annamaria. Sorry about your travel troubles.

    1. Thank you, Jim. It was great to have some face-to-face chat with you while you were here. I hope we run into one another again soon. All the best with your wonderful books.

  5. How awful to hear about that train trip. Travel in the U.S. is so dangerous, by air or by train, too.

    I agree with you about chocolate. Tea or good coffee and chocolate is a mood elevator and a physical energy boost.

    Every time I drink tea or coffee and have chocolate, I end up cleaning the eternal paper piles or something else.
    It works like nothing else.

    Glad you have fiction writing to turn to. I read crime fiction or watch dvd's when the world situation (or the Washington situation) is too much to bear.