The Big Day

by Jim on 2023/08/16

Jimbaux knows what he needs, and he needs it fast.

The Big Day

Today is the big day!  Today is the day that I took the exam for which I have been preparing for four years!

I started my walk before 05:25 today, and, actually, the weather was quite pleasant.  That seemed even then to be appropriate for this special day.  We had storms last night with little rain.  There was a heck of a show of lighting and thunder, but there was little evidence of it in the form of water on the ground this morning.

I really had to force food down this morning, as it was the earliest that I have eaten in a while.


I had a bad feeling about hurting my back by sitting down for a long time, which I would have to do to take the exam. My back was hurting during my otherwise pleasant pre-dawn walk today.

I went to Wendy’s here last night, my first time inside the place, and I had a bad experience; I ordered one of each of two different types of chicken sandwiches, but, when I got to the house and opened them, I learned that both were beef.   The bag felt light for what I had paid for it.

I realized that it’s been a long time since a fast-food place has gotten my order wrong.  It was also a rare time of me getting non-breakfast food from Wendy’s.  The people there didn’t hand me a ticket or take my name.  After a while, one of the employees pointed to a bag that had been sitting on the counter for a while and said “that’s your order.”  Like, why didn’t you tell me before?

That’s quite unprofessional.  I don’t think that I’ll be going back.  The only reason that I ate there was that I have eaten plenty of fast food lately, and I needed some variety.  I wanted something with some vegetables on it to balance out the meat and bread so that I didn’t get too constipated on this important day.

Stupid Obstacles

Damn, that irritating dog was at it early again this morning, which means that its human owners were being jerks to their neighbors.  I would be so pissed off at those people if I lived close to them, and solidarity should entail being pissed off at them even though I don’t live closer to them.

“Well, I don’t have a problem with it,” is how people like me get sold out.  So what if you don’t have a problem with it?  It shouldn’t matter if it doesn’t bother you.  If it’s bothering someone else, then that should bother you enough that you agree that the thing should stop.

Newfound Understanding Of Self And Society

I maybe need to rebrand this website that almost no one reads from a crazy Cajun with a camera to something that reflects my autism.

I just can’t believe that someone who identifies as Leftist would tell a person to just not eat at conferences that she must attend as part of her profession.  That’s what this “Winged ISIS” person did.

That basically validates why I don’t call myself a socialist, why I don’t have a choice but to seek a management or management-like role; I simply can’t trust workers to treat other workers like human beings.

Coming Attractions!

I was looking on the old railroad-enthusiast message board at old messages, from early 2003.  I was trying to find out the dates of two different photographs on the Lockport Branch.  I figured out one, which is 10 January 2003, and the other I couldn’t figure out for the life of me.  There seems to be no evidence at all, at least none that I found where any evidence would be except in the slide box itself, which I am not digging up now.

That branch was so cool!  I loved it.  There were colorful trains on the line.

What I have decided to do now is, as a way on introducing the upcoming blog articles here of scanned slides from 20 years ago, make a photo-essay article here that includes some images that were taken by this time in 2003.

I found my introductory post to the forum.  One thing that I found ironic about it is that it mentioned the abandonment of the Napoleonville Branch in a way that made it seem as though it was something that had happened in a previous era of my life, which, actually, it was, but it was only four years before! And the trains had stopped running only six and a half years before!

That’s what happens when you get older.  Events that seemed far apart when you were in the latter one seem closer together the older – the farther away from them – that you get.

Even if the Lockport Branch would somehow come back, it would never be like it was before.  I would love to foam it, but that won’t happen.

Self Examination

You look back at your own self and realize that you could have done things differently, that you didn’t realize how what you said may have come across.  Yesterday, something that I read that I wrote about two decades ago jumped out as a possible autistic trait – and a potentially annoying one.  It was that me replying to simple assertions of information with a series of questions, “do you know X?”  “do you know Y?” as I was trying to gather information about trains and operating procedures.

In retrospect, I can see how that would be overly-blunt to some people.  I don’t recall anyone expressing displeasure with it, but maybe some people privately might have thought that I was a guy who just was not satisfied with you giving the totality of the information that you provided him.

In retrospect, I think that I could have framed my inquiry like “I would love to know if X,” or “I would appreciate if anyone knows Y,” etc.

I just read a social-media discussion on autism social media on the subject of why clarifying questions come off as an attack.


Off of the discussion board, I found an e-mail message to Shawn Levy that described the first decision that I made based on information that I gleaned from hearing radio communications on the scanner.  It was a decision to not wait around for a train movement.  I was in Raceland and so, too, was the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s Schriever Job.  I wanted to know if the L&D job was going to Lockport, and I heard on the radio that it was returning to Schriever.

I really miss having a scanner.  I really do.  It’s one of the first things that I am going to buy when my finances improve.

It Ain’t The Same Anymore

It’s just amazing how, at that time 20 years ago, there were so many cool railroad things that went away, never returned, and cannot return.  Even though the mill at Zee restarted, it’s not the same at all; the boxcars that go there now are boring, there is no pulpwood, no chips, and the locomotives are relatively boring.  Railroads seem boring now. 

Most of the reasons that railroads now seem boring has to do with the railroads themselves, and I guess maybe their customers, but one of them is not: graffiti.  I can’t stand that disgusting garbage.  It’s so rude of people to do that.

When I Successfully Masked, Before Burnout

Something that I noticed when I was looking at the old forum and my messages in it is that there were so many mentions of what I saw when or after I was “getting off of work” and other such stuff, because that is now such an alien concept to me.  I was able to act like a normal person for about a decade.

It reminded me of a common AuDHD experience of being told when you were a kid that you were so mature but then being told when you’re an adult that you’re immature like a big kid, but then this weird thing of that last part not happening until I was 31 – like this weird feeling that I was more of an adult 20 years ago than I am now, which is such a weird thought.

The Here And Now

Okay, anyway, let’s get back to what happened today!

It was amazing that I drove to the testing center with windows down, no air conditioner on, which seemed prophetic on this critical day, like God’s plan; this was the middle of August in southern Louisiana, and it was so unusually pleasant.  It was such a relief from and a contrast from what we have experienced for the last few weeks, as it has been oppressively hot. 

If I didn’t have this to do today, I would be sitting outside somewhere, perhaps just sitting outside of the house.

I forgot to bring a pillow, but I ended up not needing it.

I want to go foaming 20 years ago, just with modern digital SLR cameras!

I was looking forward to doing whatever I might do after I get out of the testing.

I did not listen to any radio this morning before taking the test, nothing in the truck while I was driving.

I remember thinking during the similar cool, dry spell in August in 2006 that this must be what Albuquerque is like full time.  I wish that the Santa Fe railroad still existed.

I was nervous and excited.  What’s the worst that can happen?  I can not pass it and have to wait another month, with additional knowledge of what is on the test and of what the testing center is like.

An unclean mouth is a sensory distraction.  That’s why I didn’t bring anything to eat before the test, even though I am hungry.

So, I am getting closer.

I arrived at the testing center right at 08:00.


I passed! 

I passed the test!

I felt so relieved.

I should have done this two years ago.

Before I got my stuff out of the locker, I went and took a badly-needed leak.

I got some pictures of the SLCC place while I was here.

I did not hurt my back.

I called KSJ.  He was the first to know.  Then, I G-chatted with The Mid-City Marine and told him, the second to know.

I had to tell the dude in the break room who was talking to the guy who was three feet from him that the dude was just three feet from him, because he was so loud.  So, he started basically whispering, which I thought was overkill.

I walked around the campus for a while.

I then left campus and went north, by the railroad yard.

This is the first time that I see a train in three months, I guess since May 18.

There was a train entering the yard.

I did not know where I would photograph the #1 or if I would even photograph it.  The light was not cooperating.

I was thinking about food.

I like the plate steel, and I like the semi-bulkhead flatcars!

There were two inbound trains.  What does that mean?  Does that mean . . .

I guess that every train terminates here or at least sets out a block.

I saw a bunch of graffitied cars at the yard.  Damn you, you graffitiing jerks.  I am so serious.  Find something else to do.  I know that it’s (not that) difficult.  There were a couple of Wisconsin Central boxcars and one Kansas City Southern Railway boxcar, along with some BNSF Railway boxcars, all of them badly graffitied.


I had to eat something with chicken, despite the fact that that’s not the best thing at Whataburger, due to having to eat beef against my will last night.

This was not the most pleasant Whataburger experience, but I got the urge out of my system.

After leaving Whataburger, at first, I went toward Broussard, imagining that I could redo the shot that I did there back in April.

According to my smart devices, the Fahrenheit temperature was in the upper 80s, but it didn’t feel terribly uncomfortable.  People who don’t live in humid areas just don’t appreciate how stifling humid heat is.

I went and checked out Elks.  There were a bunch of boxcars in the track, all with graffiti.  On the spur, there were boxcars and hopper cars but no locomotives.  That suggested that the Louisiana & Delta Railroad train that is based here was either on the branch or had gone to New Iberia.

The light just will not be good for a train coming out of the southeast.  So, I decided that, given the situation, the best thing to do would be to go to Rayne and try the broadside shot that I have had in mind there.


So, here I was in Rayne, set up to photograph the westbound Sunset Limited but photographing a dust devil for now.

Let’s have a look west across US Highway 90 at the grain bins.

Here is the train.

Now, imagine how much better this would be if there would be low-angle sunlight, as there would be around the winter solstice.

The song “Urgent” by Foreigner was playing on the radio at this time.

The state of this train is sad, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

We just have the pictures, and the riders have their own experiences.

I decided to go check out Crowley, since I was so close.

Bill called when I was arriving into Crowley, responding to the message that I sent him about my having passed the test.

He congratulated me, talked about my personality and how it wouldn’t work in some ways, talked about the possibility of building “your house” around here, which I thought would be a good idea.


Let’s have a look around Crowley.

I don’t know what is happening on that old Missouri Pacific Railroad track across the Lafayette Subdivision mainline track.

It’s interesting, though.

That area between the tracks was trees until quite recently.

This is as good as it gets, though.

Here are some stored cars on the other side of South Western Avenue.

Here is the westward view from North Avenue C of the stored cars seen in the earlier images.

Next, we see the stored cars by Jack Mitchell Avenue.

I wish that there was more interesting action – or action at all – here.

I head over to Mill Street before leaving town.

Now what?

There isn’t really anything for me to do here, and there definitely isn’t anything for me to do farther west.  So, I headed back east, back to Lafayette.

Duson Train

I did manage to get a decent shot of a freight train today, with my DSLR cameras.

I did so at Duson.

I got out of the truck with no time to spare to photograph this short westbound BNSF Railway train.

I saw this train – well, that locomotive – in Lafayette Yard four hours before.

This shot would work better in cooler parts of the year.

The train had 42 cars with just that one locomotive, BNSF 6900.

I considered chasing it west, but where would I shoot it again?  I had no idea.


That was all for pictures today, and it’s important to note that both of the two shots of trains that I did today are new shots. 

Something else that I had not mentioned yet is that I had considered going to see a movie after the test, going to see either Barbie or Oppenheimer.  I nixed that idea, and I gave up on taking pictures for the day before the afternoon light got good, because I worried about having to urinate during the movie and because I wanted to get back to the house and get back to the computer and tell The Duke and The Aunts the big, important personal news of the day. 

There is also the matter that the picture options around here this time of year just are terrible.  Railroads are boring now, and so is this place.  It makes me miss home so badly.  I miss Schriever, I miss Chacahoula, and, lately, I have been missing Thibodaux Junction, even though it’s been 18 years since I could go there.

I also visited Janet this evening, and I told her that I passed the test.  She told me that she had been praying for me.  I also chatted with Leah and Jenny.

The crib is filthy, and that’s okay, because I have preparing for the test for days now, but now it’s not okay.  I need to clean the place.

I celebrated with two seafood poboys from the usual place.

I really needed that shower that I took tonight, because I got quite dusty out in that Rayne field!

That is all for today.  I hope to have better pictures to share when the weather cools.

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.  That’s not the first time that I used that trope, but I would be surprised if it is not the last.



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