Off the Rails

When something goes off the rails, it is malfunctioning and most likely dangerous.  Off the rails indicates a state of chaos, disorder, that something is unhinged, dysfunctional, uncontrollable, abnormal, inappropriate or unacceptable.  Similar idioms would be gone off the deep end, gone off the reservation, or gone off your rocker.  This could be said about someone who is behaving strangely in such a way that it appears they have lost track with reality.  In horse racing the position outside the leader, one horse off the rails or fence is known as the death seat, because this is usually the toughest run in a race because a horse will have to cover more ground than the inside competitors as well as bear the brunt of the wind resistance.  A party can go off the rails if too much alcohol or drugs are consumed.  When playing pool, you might attempt a bank shot off the rails.

This idiom stems from a train leaving the track that it runs on, being suggestive of a locomotive that has derailed.  If a train goes off the rails, it will crash and come to a stop.  Most train derailments are caused by human error or mechanical error.  Last year, 46.7 percent were caused by track defects, while another 28.7 percent were caused by human factors.  The rest were caused by mechanical problems with the train itself, signal failures, and miscellaneous factors ranging from vandalism to snow.  There is something about a train wreck that prevents you from looking away.  The worse the crash is, the longer you will be staring at it.  It sounds preposterous, but everybody seems to love a good train wreck, as humans are fascinated by evil and our minds are filled with dark fantasies that feeds our morbid curiosities.  Watching a train wreck is a dalliance, a waste of time, a frivolous action that only lasts a short time, but at a fundamental lever people learn by watching and this can teach us how to live in the world with others.

Many people experience an adulation with trains, because they derive this feeling of a rush of speed, this metal-clanging building of intensity, and awesomeness which is truly fascinating.  They enjoy riding on trains and getting the sensation of being one with the wind, watching the moving scenery that passes by, and experiencing the beauty and relaxation they obtain deep down in their soul from the frame by frame motions of a metal transportation system.  Being inside a train, allows you to perceive a new world, as you gain respect for nature, by gazing at the sky, the hills, valleys, fields, plains, and even buildings become a very spectacular sight to behold for a very imaginative person, or even a person immersed with the stress of life.

Eating a meal in a dining car on a train is so much better than getting a meal on a plane.  It is not fast food although the train will be moving fast.  Some railroads have dinning cars that can be reserved anytime for private dinner or cocktail parties, or other special functions.  On most railways you should be able to get some Italian food, but it is unlikely that puffer fish would ever be on the menu.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – #176 – June 21st- Trains, for thehouseofbailey Destination Dreams Scotts Daily Prompt Perceive, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt: Adulation, for Daily Addictions by rogershipp prompt Respect, for FOWC with Fandango – Preposterous, for Ragtag Community Italian, for Teresa’s Haunted Wordsmith Three Things Challenge, where the three prompt words are “puffer fish, soul and staring” and for Word of the Day Challenge Alternative haven for the Daily Post’s mourners! Prompt Dalliance.

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