Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trains in the Twilight Zone?

I had to work in the city today. I usually avoid driving in whenever possible because the prices for parking are horrendous. I am fortunate that I have three different rail routes within fifteen minutes of my house, so making the schedules work for me usually isn’t too difficult.

I work my job and return to the train station. The status board says my train will arrive on Track 2B at 12:27. It is running on time, so I go down to the platform and wait. Time starts ticking away, and they’re calling every train but mine. Dang. It must be late, although the board didn't say so earlier. I walk along the platform to the trackside status board, and my train is no longer listed. Where did it go? Did I miss my train? If it hadn't yet arrived, it would still be listed with a "late" status.

I’m getting nervous, thinking I drifted into the Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits and somehow missed my train. Funny, I don't recall falling asleep on that bench...

This station happens to be where the conductors switch trains during their shifts, and there was a conductor sitting on the bench next to me.

“Excuse me, sir, are you working the (Route Number?)”

“No,” he says.

“This is where I’d board it; am I right?”

He responds with an odd, noncommittal body gesture.

I ask him if I missed it or why it wouldn’t be on the status board as running late, and he says he doesn’t know. I’m starting to get a pissy attitude, something that’s been a problem for me lately, so I thanked him and let the matter drop. I begin thinking to myself that maybe I’m being unfair, because if this guy isn’t working my train, how can I expect him to know the status of all the others? I thank him and move on, and I continue pacing nervously, wondering whether I should go back up to the concourse to check the status or stay put. They finally call my train several minutes later, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief.

My train pulls in, but it stops in 2A, not 2B, so I have to scurry down the platform to Section A before it leaves without me. I mean, it’s already five or more minutes late, so I figure it isn’t going to stick around very long.

I board my train and gratefully park my tail in a seat and wait for the train to depart. And I wait some more and a little more. Hmmm… Just when I think we’re going to be asked to detrain because of mechanical problems, we pull away.

The strangest part of this adventure? Guess which conductor is working this train?


Coffee Bean said...

I would have given him the stink eye.

Anonymous said...

It would have been very difficult for me not to say something sarcastic to him. The kind of thing that makes my husband want to hide but gives me satisfaction.