I don’t want to return to a second class coupe in a Russian train. Those days are over, thank you. Even without a job, I started springing for a first-class berth. Sometimes I even bought the whole darn thing so that I could travel in peace. The air conditioning helped a bunch, too. Look, it’s like this: I’ve been through the ringer enough. I’ve carried my burdens, I’ve endured my trials, I’ve collected my stories, its’ time to relax now. I can see the same thing out the window as a cheaper ticket. I just get to sleep in coolness and comfort. I’ve earned that.
Gone are the days when I used to buy a second class ticket on an all-night train. I’d cram all my belongings into my assigned space, writhe and wiggle around three other travelers, notice the “he ain’t from around here” scrutiny, and then lie back on my berth sweaty and heart pounding. I had to assess my cabin mates. Will they snore? Will they break out the vodka? Will they talk or just ignore me. Will they smell? I’ve done it enough. I’m done. And once I do complete my assessment, once I do implement all anti-theft procedures, I brace myself for the attempt to actually sleep in this hotbox. This is the last time. I always say. But it never is. But now it is official, it is the very last time.