Cheers to The Beast for the photo.
Have you ever had the realisation that you're half-arsedly obsessed with something but didn't really know it until you look back over the pattern of your life and there it is, over and over again, staring you in the face like a wall-mounted trout?
Having had occasion to visit a few train stations lately, I recently found myself calmly and reasonably (or more accurately: blurting excitedly) to all and sunder: "You-know-I-would-be-quite-happy-doing-this-all-day-get-myself-a-nice-little-clipboard-mark-the-trains-off-the-timetable-quite-satisfying-really-you-know-ticking-things-off-I'm-surprised-there-aren't-more-people-here-where-are-all-the-people?-don't-they-know-there-are-trains-they-could-be-watching-are-they-really-having-coffee/doing-the-laundry/asleep-when-there's-all-this-to-be-enjoying?"
So it appears I'm some kind of newly outed, non-practising nut-bar trainspotter. Who would have known?
I had fairly inauspicious beginnings in terms of trainspotting. My uncle was a rail enthusiast and spent his Sunday afternoons building a large and complicated model train system in his garage. I'm afraid I used to make fun of the poor chappy and throw silly jibes at him that included the words 'grown adult,' 'Thomas the Tank Engine' and 'toot toot!' just loud enough for him to hear over his 3:42 express.
Until my epiphany I would have (and did) make fun of all things rail-related. Until my epiphany I would have (and did) think the Wiki people were having a bit of a guffaw in the 'Railfan' article when they captioned a photo of two people watching a train go by with "Railfans practising their hobby at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin," and another of a hillside of camera-holding people above an empty train track with "Railfan photographers awaiting a special train in Belgium".
But now, post-epiphany, I can only hope someone is there to capture the moment when I see my first Westbound intermodal with blue leader.
I've also got this thing about the postal system, but that's for another confessional.