Monday, March 03, 2008

This gives an idea of what I'm studying right now

Winding trains more than a mile long, expanding traffic, coal lines, hardened railroad men, work rules, nocturnal culture. Sounds like what I've been studying all day every day here in Kansas City......

Now, she says, she likes Bill. When she steps out a back door for a cigarette, she sees nothing but beautiful nothingness.

The hotel in Bill — some call it the Bill Ritz-Carlton — is open to everyone, but is especially designed to accommodate these railroaders. For example, in keeping with a contractual agreement between the railroad company and the unions, it must have a break room, an exercise room and, very importantly, a card table.

Because railroading is hardly a 9-to-5 profession, each room has window shades designed to thwart any peek of daylight and thick walls to snuff out sounds like vacuuming. The hotel also has a "guest finder" system that uses heat sensors to signal if someone is in a room, possibly resting, almost certainly uninterested in a cheery call of "Housekeeping!"


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