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?