Monday, October 6, 2008

Next Stop - The Clink

Two weeks ago L & I made our way to NY to join C in a rendezvous to celebrate the wedding of one of our very best friends. The very friend that brought us together - KW, Weiler, Kiki - whatever you call her home girl got hitched. Being in the wedding there were several responsibilities I needed to keep in mind: make it to the church on time (and early) and make sure I remember my dress & shoes. C was in Neuvo Jeresy working and rather than have 2 cars to drive home after Lillipalooza in the 'Burgh I thought it'd be a super idea to hike it to Penn Station, again. Do I ever learn?

In estimating the time I needed to leave I was off - as I set out to catch the 4:25 pm train I realize the first misstep. I leave the house late - while I thought I have an hour, I'm not taking into consideration the time it takes to get to the first train station, wait time and time to get to the next station. If I don't hustle to the train station I run the risk of missing the train. I have the baby, in a stroller, with a diaper bag, a rolling suitcase (a suitor so I didn't mess my dress - so it isn't tiny) & another / extra bag with all the crap that wouldn't fit in the other bags / bottom of the stroller. OH and my lap top, cause apparently I needed to check email? I have an Internet obsession & addiction. Don't judge. Do you have a visual?

It's fall but about 100 degrees out - and as I push the stroller and balance bags hanging off it and pull the suitcase - I realize if I get to the (first) train station and a train isn't there when I need it I could totally see myself rushing to wait and then missing my ride to NYC.

It's a 10 minute walk to the first train station, which will take me one stop to the final destination to pick up Amtrak. It turns out the entire walk is on some kind of incline each street, each turn a hill. I had never noticed it until this struggle to the train station. I push up hills in 100 degrees, sweating in a way where I have drops of sweat literally blurring my sight. The sun is glaring, I am sweating and can't see. I also forgot my sunglasses but there was no way once I got down the 3 flights of steps with the baby, stroller, a diaper bag, a rolling suitcase & an extra bag I was going back up for stupid glasses. I start to realize that it's becoming increasingly difficult to push and it isn't about the massive weight, the hill, the sweat or the sunglasses. It's a freaking flat on my beloved. That's right my stroller whose very tires that cruise threw snow and corner like it's on rails in the sand at the beach was being weighed down due to the amount of luggage we had and air that we didn't. To compensate for the lowering tires, I had to push way right to stay straight.... in the heat, with no glasses and tons o'crap. Oh and did I mention I was strategically keeping L awake so she would sleep on the train - in the heat, with the flat tire, no sunglasses, tons o'crap and shaking the child to keep her awake - up a hill but having to push (with one arm while pulling the suitor with the other) way to right to stay straight.

Fast forward: I get to the first train station, then to the connection. Get my Amtrak ticket and only have to pinch baby girl once to keep her awake. When the train finally arrives all the people waiting on the platform standstill - and I of course wasn't prepared - I had L out of the stroller. By the time I get her in the stroller and make sure I have my ticket, baby, stroller, a diaper bag, a rolling suitcase & an extra bag- I heard encountered my worst fear.

"Doors closing."

Yet I remain on the platform. I quickly ask the people standing in front if they are getting on, they barely answer, "No." I do what every mother bridesmaid would do. I push the stroller with full force into the closing train doors - except there is a gap between the door & the platform and due to the weight of the stroller at this point the front wheels (which are not flat) get stuck and lodged in between the door & the platform. Nobody moves, no one helps.

I claw my way into the stupid train and every handicap seat is taken so me and the kid are stuck in the bathroom car. I need the handicap seat so I can push the stroller up - and none of the seats were taken by actual handicap people. I'm livid and call C immediately - f'ing commuters, f'ing Amtrak, f'ing no where to gawddang sit. I f'ing hate traveling so on and so forth - lots of F bombs lots of manic madness. There is screaming. There is yelling. There is a lot of noise.

There is also a police officer in full uniform that comes out of the bathroom and advises me, "Ma'am I'm going to need you to calm down and find a seat." I explain the situation with the stroller and apologize for my mouth, language & passion against commuters. He tells me I have to sit down and can wait for the conductor to get to me, however I can't stand here. I take my seat, in the bathroom to kill time while the conductor gets to me.

The rest of the story is boring - the conductor comes - he tells me to "follow me!" and proceeds to take my suitor and literally race down the aisle of the train cars - and if you don't remember from last time the aisles of Amtrak trains are not bugaboo friendly so there were many causalities along the way including many a foot and random person's knee cap. He gave me his seat which was one with room for the child and all my her crap and a bottle of water - which was a nice touch. No more train. Not for this girl. Not going to happen, not again.

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