Part of the charm of the trip is the security warning read over the intercom as we leave Penn station. It reads something like, "if you see something, say something: a strange package, something that doesn’t look quite right, or, [and now I’m quoting precisely], somebody acting funny."
Actually, I am watching someone acting funny. There are 4 guys in my line of sight who are acting …I guess "funny" captures it. By the looks of their suits, ties, brief cases, and watches, they are 4 young princes of the capital markets. Or they are McKinsey consultants, red of tooth and claw, the ones who rampage, well tailored holligans, through a corporation. They take no prisoners, this lot. They leave careers where they break them. They got a train to catch. I would guess they have degrees from Wharton, Columbia, HBS, or Yale. No, not Yale. (Yale should be so lucky to graduate guys as good as these.) They are in their late 20s or early 30s and they are making a small fortune. And this is just the financial. The funds of self esteem are, evidentally, still greater.
What’s funny about them? They are quitely tormenting the steward. Well, why not. They’re bored. He’s struggling. Why not have a little fun? Pricks.
This is class in America. The distance between the steward and these guys is vast. He may have made it through high school, a public one. They went to private schools, likely, and enjoyed the best college educations money can buy.
I am not saying that these guys are racists. I am not saying they are actively hostile or dangerous. (This is good, because I am sitting in their line of sight.)
Let’s give these kids their due. They are entitled to think well of themselves. They were smart to begin with and they are now, thanks to Penn, formidable problem solving machines. And they are the reason American corporations are so much better at capitalism than the competitors, including those from France and England. These kids are the future because they own a piece of it.
But, really, does this give them the right to torment Amtrak employees. I don’t think so.