WRITTEN FOR WTAD.COM/The White Pages
Every time I drive by our AMTRAK station, it reminds me of the last time I had a ticket for the 6 p.m. train to Chicago. With three books and a peanut butter sandwich, the 4 ½ hour trip would be both relaxing and productive. Another bonus: time to review my speech for a morning presentation in Gurnee, IL.
Suitcase? Sandwich? Purse? Check, check and check. After a few steps towards the platform, I stopped cold and thought, “Too quiet. Nobody’s waiting in line. Maybe the evening train lacked popularity. Ahhh, a distant whistle; it’s just running late. But a freight train zoomed by, going south.
My watch said, 5:32p.m. – plenty of time for a 6 p.m. departure. Still, something was off. I checked my ticket for the first time, in a month. I ride the train frequently and know the schedule, but, and this is a BIG but, it read, “Departure- 5:30p.m.” I re-read the ticket; adrenaline coursed through me. I’D MISSED IT! Noooooooooo! Yessssssssss! After kicking myself for five seconds, I threw my stuff into the car and fell back on my only option: “Okay Big Girl, you’re driving to Chicago!” Oh, the joy I felt, as I calculated the mileage and ETA: 11:30 p.m.
I needed to call Jeff. Not yet. I’d been a bozo; no reminders needed. Still, he needed to know. Three hours later, I got some gas, bubble gum, and the gumption to call Jeff. For the next 150 miles, he checked in with me, suggesting I stop for the night. His motto is: “Getcha a good night’s sleep and finish driving tomorrow.” His approach was more sensible than mine, but by now, I was fired up with coffee, sugar and a desire to wake up in Gurnee. I turned the radio off and contemplated how my travel plan had imploded. Jeff signed off, with instructions to text him upon arrival.
During this quiet drive portion, several thoughts bubbled up: 1. Missing trains makes me mad. 2. Still, I’m proud of my reaction, which took five sections. It’s like the dropped food rule, except for anger. Five’s all you get. Then move on. 3. Everyone should drive solo for six hours sometime, to think and sing. 4. Always call home when plans change. 5. Bubble Yum rocks! 6. Always review your ticket, prior to departure.
It is said that, “WE TEACH WHAT WE NEED” in ourselves and how I needed this lesson! Accept what befalls you, admit your faults, adapt and grow. At least on the return drive, I could stop and purchase new shoes because I was on MY schedule, not AMTRAK’s. So there was that…
And as always, laugh at your own expense, because, sometimes, you are the joke. In fact, do you remember these jokes?
When God passed out… noses, I thought He said, “Roses”, and I asked for a big red one. Heads, I thought He said, “Beds”, and I asked for a big soft one. Brains, I thought He said, “Trains”, and I said that I’d take the next one.
Except sometimes, there isn’t one.
TEN FOR WTAD.COM/The White Pages
One reply on “BRAINS & TRAINS”
Oh I did this but it was a 12:30 am train out of St. Louis to Dallas. My ticket was for the 10th. I left Quincy on the 10th late at night. And it only ran every other day. I had to play music for a wedding rehearsal on the evening of the 11th. I was tired and had been looking forward to a relaxing train trip. I got a room in downtown St. Louis and called airlines. Nope. Got up early and drove 12 hours and made it. I went through your checklist of 5. I had snacks, just didn’t get to read the book. I enjoyed Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas! It was all okay in the end.