Saturday, October 6, 2007

Why Poker Chick Will Never Rule The Universe

This long entry is still a work in progress, so stay tuned for revisions. The important thing to note is that everything written here is true - and (sadly) not even in the least bit exaggerated or embellished.

Poker Chick has booked a train home from a business trip in Boston. She smiles inside at the brilliant decision she has made not to fly. No security. No hideous threats to toss her Chanel eye glosses. No smelly feet to endure. And she can work, rest or eat the whole time. Everyone should train instead of fly! She smiles as her colleagues head off to deal with an airport on a Friday afternoon. They are clearly not as experienced travelers as she.
Shit. Cab driver showed a half hour late and is stuck in traffic. It shouldn't be this close.
Phew. Made it to the train station. Giant train schedule hanging from the ceiling is showing the 6:45 train on time. Poker Chick relaxes and grabs a book and some hot cocoa.
Poker Chick hears "delays" on the loudspeaker and the schedule is still not showing a track for the 6:45. Must be just a little late. She calmly sips her drink and waits.
Poker Chick realizes that the giant "T" on the sign is not the logo for Amtrak. She looks around and sees what must be the Amtrak board covered with a big banner on it that reads "Acela". That is not helpful. She panics when she puts it all together and realizes what must have happened. Still, this is Poker Chick, she tells herself. Superheroine. She must be calm in a crisis. She must think. So think she does. Behind the "Acela" banner is a yellow light flashing for track #7. OK, so we can't see what train it's for, but if it's boarding now, chances are it's her train. She runs. Cocoa spills all over her right arm (and white sleeve) but at this point she doesn't care. She sees people running and then sees the train and giddily tosses her cup in the trash. "Is it the 6:45"? she hears someone ask. "Yes", they reply. Sweet. Poker Chick is still brilliant after all. She makes it to the rear car and sees a big giant "T" on the train. Uh-oh. Well it was a 6:45 train. Just not hers. Still, she had hope. She coolly asked the conductor just to make sure, and surely enough her train was late too and on the next track!
She gets a few yards within her train, close enough to see it pull out. ARGHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Poker Chick continues to try and remain calm. Her cab driver had given her a verbal tour of Boston's trains, so she knew there were two more local stops before the train went south at full speed ahead. She ran to get a cab to try and outrun it.
She's still waiting for a cab and suddenly thinks this is not such a good idea.
Cab shows up. Score! But once inside she learns the driver doesn't know how to get to the other two stops. He's new. She gets out and looks at her watch. This plan has clearly failed.
She turns back to the train station and is finally able to stop running. She walks dejectedly to the Amtrak information booth. They tell her that the board had been out of service for a week!!! Of course. Duh. That's what that "Acela" sign must have meant. So turned out that lots of people missed the train, and that the next one was at 9:30. Nine-fucking-thirty!!!! She won't get home until forever. This sucks. Still, they tell her, she'll get home. All she has to do is wait on this long line right here and switch her ticket.
She gets in line as she's told. Online she hears other tales of woe: there was a fire on one of the subway lines, causing many to miss this particular train (mostly college students on their way home for the holiday). Also, a few were just plain stupid like her. In her defense, it was nearly impossible to decipher what they were saying on the loudspeakers. Really. You had to be there.
She finally gets to the front counter only to learn the 9:30 train is sold out and no one on this line is getting on. She can come back tomorrow morning. Also, since this was a travel agency ticket, they cannot refund her money. Let's scream, all together now: WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She wipes her tears that came on suddenly, stops yelling and lets the two panic minutes go while she tries to calm down. She's Poker Chick, she tells herself again. She can do this. Don't give up and go to the hotel. She's got to get home to the mini. She rallies a few students and recent grads in line (no "adult" missed that train) and thinks of alternatives. Drive? The others are not yet 25, but Poker Chick is. Still, 5 hours or more in holiday weekend traffic? They decide they're all too tired to take the risk, even if they would take turns.
Epiphany. The bus stop!!! A couple minutes away!!! Poker Chick leads the charge of five, all ignoring the weight of the bags they've been carrying on their shoulders while running over the past hour.
The bus station. A crowded zoo is a wide open space compared to what this looked like. She'd never seen such a line for tickets. Two people give up and head back to their dorm rooms. Poker Chick is committed. She is not a loser. She will get home.
Do they wain in the line for a person or ticket machine? They split up for the best odds.
Three have come out successfully with tickets. They run off together to the line for the 8pm express bus to NY. Peter Pan or Fung Wah bus lines?? Please. Poker Chick hopes she doesn't have to tell you what that decision was.
They stop, out of breath, at the end of the longest bus line any of them had ever seen. Excellent people watching, but all were too upset at the moment to care. Poker Chick leaves the other two gentlemen in charge of "stuff" while she does some line recon up front.
The situation is more dire than she feared. Not only is the line as long as they suspected, it's one of those amusement park-style lines, where it wraps back and forth several time. Oh shit. They're totally fucked.
One guy gives up and goes home. Poker Chick and her new traveling companion, Orlando, decide they will not have gone through all of this for nothing. Dammit!
The line begins to move. The 8pm bus is here. And goes. Sigh.
Another bus! The bus company decided to add another route given the volume. Still, Poker Chick and Orlando are two buses away or more on line when it leaves. And the next bus is not until 10:30. Crap.
A miracle! They added another bus! The duo are overjoyed as they board, realizing the irony of their joy at boarding a rather disgusting bus late at night for a long long ride ahead. They wonder aloud whether it would be worth it to detour to Foxwoods.
Next day: 2:00am
One bad movie, one smoke break, and one fabulous dinner later (McDonald's fries and a snickers bar; hey, when in Rome....) and they finally arrive at Port Authority. Poker Chick is wondering how in the hell she was able to hold her pee for that long and whether she's just tired or is actually hallucinating. She thanks her traveling fellow for the company and somehow makes it home.

Poker Chick is thinking that perhaps she is not that brilliant after all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OK, but trains are much better for the environment, and I must say that I usually prefer to train. THis is just an isolated incident. Don't give up!!