The alarm went off at 4:40 Thursday morning.
Which is really fucking early when bedtime doesn’t come until just 4 hours earlier. A wake-up call made worse by the fact that I tossed and turned during those measly 4 hours. But I had a train to catch and I was not going to miss it.
I had never been on a train before. Well, other than the one at the zoo and that hardly counts. I mean come on, I can walk faster than that train and it only really goes in a circle. That would hardly meet Amtrak’s standards.
The train I was getting on was the late train of the day. Set to leave at 6:15 a.m. I was excited about the new experience, nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, and absolutely hating the fact that I had to be up so early for the ride. But that’s as late as they run. So after a shower, half a blueberry Eggo, and not nearly enough coffee we left for the station.
Not much is going on at the Amtrak station at 5:45 a.m. in Toledo, Ohio. Everyone is noticeably tired and nobody says much of anything. We got our tickets from the ticket counter, found a place on one of the leather benches, and waited for our train to arrive. G-tot and I were heading to Union Station in Chicago where we would be picked up to spend the weekend with my mom and step-dad. I was driving back home at the end of our trip so along with our bags I had to bring a car seat. Which, it turns out, is a giant pain in the ass.
In an effort to keep minors with their guardians, families with kids under 15 got to board the train first. G-tot and I were at the front of that line. Let me paint you a little picture.
One small piece of carry-on luggage.
One laptop bag.
One car seat.
Very early in the morning (which is not known to be my most pleasant time of day).
And you know what the first thing the assistant conductor said to me when she took our tickets as we were getting ready to board the train? Not “Good morning”. Not “Welcome aboard.” No, instead she said in a accusatory voice, “Why didn’t you check any bags?”
Blink. Blink. I have not had enough coffee for this.
“Umm…I don’t know. I’ve never been on a train before.”
“That wasn’t very smart.”
What? Well screw you too lady. Way to be helpful. And you can kiss my ass as I drag my crap—that is within the range of number of acceptable items—onto the train.
She managed to piss me off and we hadn’t even stepped onto the train yet. Add to that the 2 extra hours the trip took to get to Chicago and I was so ready to get off that train by the time we arrived. Especially after sitting just outside the station for a good 20 minutes. So close but yet so very far away. I’m crossing it off my list and making no plans to board another one any time soon.