TRAX Is for Kids

The TRAX light-rail system opened to much fanfare in 1999, and before the month was over, it was scissoring people in half almost daily. I believe it carried some passengers, too, though that’s hard to verify.

I don’t know why more people don’t ride TRAX. We tried it the other night as part of an evening of fun and merriment in Salt Lake City, and the trip from Sandy to downtown that takes 15 minutes in a car took only an hour on TRAX. What could be more convenient? Perhaps it’s all the killing that drives people away.

There was relatively little death in our experience, which is actually unfortunate, as there were several 14-year-old girls on our train who were screaming Christmas carols at the tops of their lungs, and we would like to have seen any or all of them sawn asunder by a train. These girls are at the age where any activity they think of on their own is sheer brilliance, and anything suggested by their parents is stupid, even if it’s the same activity. (You can bet if their parents had suggested they sing Christmas carols on a crowded train, the girls would have looked at them like they had pea soup spurting out their ears.)

So sing they did, and annoyed we were, and a long time the train ride took. But finally we arrived downtown, and my group — Becky, Lindsay, Josh, Chanel, Chris&Lisa and their two kids whose names escape me, and I — detrained and headed toward Temple Square. Our plan was to see the Christmas lights and enjoy the special peace and happiness of the season, but instead we went to Crossroads Plaza and ate mall food.

I had something from a place called Lotsa Hotsa — I admit, the name is the only reason I went there — and we sort of watched George W. Bush accept the presidency on a big TV while we also watched Chris&Lisa’s older son, who is, I don’t know, 2 or 6 or something, fall off his chair not once but twice. Chanel suggested Josh use his Banana Republic scarf to tie the lad to his seat, but that idea was quickly discarded, as the scarf was valuable.

We made it to Temple Square eventually, and my, is it ever a beautiful place, what with the temple and the square and all. Chris pretended not to be a Mormon, speaking in a New York accent and loudly saying things like, “What are these Mormons all about? I wonder if there’s someone around here who could tell me about them.” Meanwhile, Becky and I figured the thing to do would be for me to propose to her — not because we wanted to marry each other, but because we wanted to give the other Temple Square visitors a nice story to tell their friends when they got home. Alas, we couldn’t find a suitable moment, and Becky and Josh pretended to be a couple for a few minutes (they pretended awfully well, too, their friends will be intrigued to know) while Chanel, believing Lindsay’s glove to be a tarantula, stomped on the thing. There were lights, too.

But the evening was all about TRAX, really. On the way back, Lindsay, Chanel and I struck up a conversation with an adorable little boy who informed us that it was a good thing they didn’t allow horses on the train, because “they would poop.” This seemed logical to us, and I remarked that I would like to have an adorable little boy someday. In fact, I decided I wanted this particular adorable little boy, as the chances of my own offspring turning out that cute are slim. Much to my dismay, the boy’s father indicated he was not for sale, and then they backed away slowly. People are always backing away slowly from me. They should really watch where they’re going, lest a train run them over.

According to legend, "sawn asunder" is how the prophet Isaiah was martyred. I read that phrase somewhere once, and it sort of stuck with me.

This was officially the 2nd Annual TRAX Extravaganza. The first was just after TRAX opened, when Chris, Lisa and Josh rode TRAX for the fun of it and then looked at Temple Square. This year, more people were invited; alas, many of them had other obligations and could not join with us in the extravaganza. They were kicking themselves later, let me tell you.

This column prompted this e-mail from someone on my mailing list. This sort of thing doesn't happen very often -- people on the mailing list are generally there because they LIKE my writing -- so I thought I'd include it.

Please unsubcribe me from your emailing list. I no longer find you funny--AT ALL. There comes a point where comedians stop being funny, and cross over to be annoying. You have reached that point, and now you are becoming annoying. Again, please UNsubscribe me from your emailing list.

Yes, I heard you the first time.

It was our intention to make the TRAX Extravaganza an annual tradition, but fate intervened. The next year, Chris&Lisa and their kids were living temporarily in England; the year after that, other members of the group had moved away; and so on. But we still recall the evening with fondness.