Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

switchedLate Christmas just keeps going and going and going: There’s a guy in New Jersey who sent me a whole mess of train tracks through the mail. Not for free. And he wasn’t my Secret Santa or some goofy shit like that. I paid him what I thought was a fair price, particularly because I’d been searching teh intarwebs for switches that are kind of hard to find. When this guy’s e-bay store turned up, chock full o’ exactly the kind of goodies I was looking for, I kind of squealed like a little girl. Two minutes later I’d placed my order and was camped out by the front door, waiting for the package to arrive.

That was, unfortunately, just before Christmas. What with the holidays, the blizzard, and this guy’s other personal obligations, the tracks I ordered didn’t pop up on his radar for more than a week. He finally posted them in the mail sometime last week, and I got them today.

The box he packed them in was the best cardboard box I’d ever received from an e-bay vendor. Whoopdie-doo, right? No. You’re not right. Maybe that’s not a big deal to you, or maybe every box you’ve ever received an e-bay purchase in was expertly packed in plenty of bubble wrap and closed up in a solid, new box. My purchases have all arrived in boxes that looked like they’d been recycled at least twice, taped back together with the better part of a roll of duct tape, then fell off the delivery truck and skidded along the asphalt before the delivery guy scooped it up and put it on my front stoop.

Mr. New Jersey Train Track Guy, on the other hand, sent me a box that was brand new and carefully taped shut. My address, and only my address, was clearly written across one side. There were no previous address labels, bar codes or dire warnings of toxic chemicals that might have once been shipped in the box, half-blacked-out by swirls of magic marker. I hadn’t even opened the box and I was already impressed by this guy. Then I opened the box and I was even more impressed. He’d carefully taped the track between two slabs of cardboard and packed plenty of rolled-up newspaper around it to keep it from rattling around in there.

I took the track downstairs to the layout and arranged them on the stretch of roadbed where they’ll eventually be nailed down. Then I crouched down, closed one eye and sighted along each rail. Then I rearranged the track, trying to line it all up. Then I had to go around to the other side of the layout and do the squinting-through-one-eye thing again. Then … okay, you get the whole, great big geeky idea.

switched | 9:40 pm CST
Category: hobby, LoCo Rwy, play
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