I woke up early today with my morning pretty well solidly planned out. I was going to pack my bags for my holiday visit home, hop on a bus to the train station, check my bag and board.
The first part went pretty well. I finished packing ahead of schedule, and sat to enjoy a cup of coffee. As I was sipping my cuppa joe, I looked out the window, and saw that it was suddenly winter, and there was already far more snow than I had suspected and no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. Hmm, did I want to drag my suitcase through the snow to the bus terminal and then from the bus stop to the train station? Not really, but I also didn’t want to pay for a cab. I decide to tough it out on the bus.
I zip up my suitcase and lift it upright–whoa! This bad boy is heavy! Coupled with my oversize purse and heavy backpack, plus the snow, the idea of bussing was less appealing than ever. Better call a cab.
“Hi, I’d like to arrange a cab for 10:45 please.”
“We will do our best but we make no guarantees of it being on time, especially during times on inclement weather.”
“Uhh… better make it for 10:30?”
The cab arrives at approximately 10:31, so things are looking peachy. We take off as planned, and I start texting family to let them know I was on my way, not paying attention to the road. Suddenly the driver says “Oh! You said you’re going to the train station?! Um, oh.. uh…” I look up in time to see a sign informing me we’re getting on the highway–going in the opposite direction. Great.
He says he’ll stop the meter while he turns around, apologizes profusely, and asks every few minutes when I have to be at the station. “Don’t worry,” I say, “this is why I called a cab early.”
It takes approximately forever to get to the next exit and return to where we started, and in that time I notice that the meter is still running. I don’t say anything but continue to eye it suspiciously. He sees this and says, “Oh, sorry I thought I stopped that. I’ll stop it now and it’ll just be $11.50, is that alright with you?” HECK YES, I was planning on at least $20.
Traffic is crazy because it’s December 23rd in a snowstorm, but eventually we make it onto the right highway where we can move along at a better pace. The roads are terrible, and just meters before the divided highway becomes a two-way street we start sliding and do a full 360 on the road, missing lampposts, street signs and the concrete median by inches. Thank. God. I do not have time for a broken down cab.
The rest of the drive is uneventful, and when we get to the station I give him $15. He says “Oh, ten is fine, really,” to which I reply “Oh no, it’s been a rough trip and I appreciate you getting me here on time.” because I’m stupid (and also because I, too, work for tips and had a horrible shift last night).
I walk into the train station and see the enormous line for tickets. I laugh to myself, holy balls am I glad I came in yesterday to buy my ticket. Instead I head to check my baggage where there’s no one in line. I put my bag up on the scale and–of course–it’s five pounds over the limit. “It’s going to be $20 plus tax for that.” I sigh but at this point I just want to be done with it, and I begin to rifle through my bag for my wallet. The clerk stops me and says “Oh, you pay that at the next window.” I look in the direction she’s pointing. It’s a ticketing booth. “I have to wait in that line to pay the baggage fee?” “Yes.” Sigh.
I finally get through that line, shell out 23 ridiculous dollars, and by now the boarding line is HUGE. I’m definitely going to be stuck sitting with a large man who takes up half my seat and who smells of old cigarettes and piss.
I find the end of the line and take my place–right next to three older women playing what sounds like the soundtrack to a horrible film adaptation of The Merry Wives of Windsor on the flute, recorder, and keyboard, loudly, with BELLS AROUND THEIR ANKLES. I wish I was kidding.
After waiting in line for 20 minutes next to the Weird Sisters, it finally starts moving. I walk to the very farthest car, where I’m to board. It seems as though everyone in the line is headed to the same car as me and yet and, and I still can’t believe this, I got a single seat! Ahh! Beautiful. I think I must have reached my bad-luck quota.
As I’m typing this, we are just pulling out of the station. Let’s all hope my 4.5 hour trip is much, much less eventful.