Sunday, June 1, 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobiles…

“Love, we’re gonna be late, its quarter till 3!” Yeah, that would be am. I never thought that getting up at 2:45AM would make me late for anything.

So yeah we woke up late to catch our train to New York City for summer project. We hurried up and to leave by a little after 3 or so. As we walked in to the Amtrak station in Greensboro, the ultra-calm ticket agent said to us that we should have been there long ago if we were going to check our bags…thanks a lot. Stephanie and I ran to get our luggage, not fully aware of how close we were to scheduled departure, causing a commotion that we wish was captured on film. Seriously, it probably looked like something from a movie.

As we started running from our car I was dragging 2 large rolling suitcases, a backpack, a duffle bag, 2 squishy pillows, a back roll, and a bottle of aloe vera (we got a little too much sun at the lake yesterday) and Love with a large rolling suitcase, backpack, 2 Nalgenes, a blanket, and food for the trip. At this moment, I thought, “I survived a much worse fiasco getting on a train in China than this, we’ll be alright and we’ll make it on the train; they won’t leave.” The next moment everything was falling; the pillows, the duffle bag that I had on top of the rolling suitcase, the aloe vera; everything. Stephanie bursts in to tears over how pathetic the situation is and over how tired she is. Seriously, at this moment I’m thinking that this is just like a TV show or a movie and then I remembered that they always make the train, plane or whatever on TV and the movies; we’ll be alright, they won’t leave us.

A few steps later and I’m on the sidewalk, I have dropped the red squishy pillow and run over it with one of the suitcases. It’s a casualty at this point, I’m not going back to get it. The ticket agent helps us to get on to an escalator to get up to the train. As soon as we get off the escalator and step on the platform, the train blows its whistle and begins rolling. The porter on the side of the train shook her head and said that it was too late.

The stages of mourning presented themselves quickly. Immediate disbelief, following quickly by rage, made me want to hurl my Nalgene bottle as hard as I could at the wall. Then followed a long period of strategy. I turned to the ticket agent to ask where the next stop was and if we could drive there and beat the train. He said we couldn’t make it and told us the next train to NYC left at 9:21. It was 4am.

Back downstairs in the ticket office, we found out that we would have to pay $180 extra to take that 9:21 train on top of the $160 that the tickets to NYC already cost us. After my awesome wife called Amtrak “customer service” (she said she would be more determined than me and not back down) without really getting much service, we decided to try to see if we could get a cheap flight. Going to the airport ticket counter was the wrong thing to do because the agent at the Greensboro airport noted that we were walking up to the ticket count to buy tickets, apparently that’s the most expensive way, and then told us tickets would be $900…per person!

Then we called Mrs. Love (sorry we kept you up!) and she looked on discount airline sites and bus sites for alternatives while we drove to Panera to use their internet connection to do the same.

After seeing nothing for less than $400, the next mourning phase set in, acceptance followed by delirium (due to the lack of sleep). We drove back toward the train station to check in wait for the 9:21 train. The same ticket agent was there, bless his heart. He checked our bags in for us, 3 hours early and then wisely asked if we were going to hang around there or if we were going to go anywhere and then told us what time we should be there to not miss the train. The following events including quite an excursion in downtown Greensboro will come in a later blog post.

We have made it to New York now though and are chillin at the La Quinta (Queens).


Brad Christian said...

Wow! That was some kind of adventure. I hope Katie, Sarah, Dustin and I have a smoother trip up there! I am glad you made it up though! See you in 8 days!!!

Jen Treece said...

So sorry about the hassle getting there! We're so excited you are finally there! I must confess, Treece and I were rolled on the ground laughing - I'm just picturing tears, nalgenes flying, and a trail of abandoned items...priceless!


Ben said...

did you go back to pick up the wounded from the battlefeild after you missed the train the first time? This is America, we don't shoot our wounded.