Maybe I Should Just Ride My Bike
November 20, 2008

Under the Weather

I've been without my car since Tuesday morning. This means I've been relying heavily on public transportation. I happen to live and work close enough to a lightrail line which makes it pretty easy to get back and forth. And I'm totally happy to do this when I don't have to be anywhere at a super specific time. However, last night, I had plans, and me getting there on time totally hinged on public transportation running like clockwork. Of course, last night, my chosen forms of public transportation (the lightrail and the CalTrain) chose to run on their own made up schedule.

I was supposed to meet a couple of lovely ladies for dinner in Palo Alto last night. My first error was thinking we were meeting at 6:30. We were not. I checked my e-mail at one point, and realized that I was supposed to be there at 6. Whoops. However, with this 6:30 time in mind, I left work at 5:30 on the dot, and arrived at the lightrail station right as a train was pulling up. I went to buy my ticket, and the machine I happened to choose isn't taking dollar bills. I don't have enough coins, and the machine doesn't take plastic. Even if I had tried walking to the other ticket machine, it wouldn't have helped because the train was already pulling away. This set the tone for the rest of my evening.

While I waited for the next lightrail train, I searched the web for CalTrain times to get to Palo Alto. I had two options: 6:03 or 6:46. I started crossing finger and toes that I might be able to make the earlier train. Of course, the lightrail train I end up on is moving slow and even has to sit and wait for a bit to let another train pass. There's no way I'm making the earlier train. But then, we pull into the station, and I notice there's two CalTrains waiting there. Could I maybe make the train? And then I notice that the one on the northbound track is empty. Apparently there was something wrong with it, and they moved everyone to the train on the southbound track. It was packed like sardines and they were only letting people on through one door. NICE. I'm standing there, wondering what I should a ticket? Try and get on this train? Wait for the next train? Call the boyfriend and have him drive me to Palo Alto (I didn't do this in the first place because he was on his way back from Sacramento). As I'm deciding that I just might have enough time to buy a ticket and sneak on the train, they close the door and it starts pulling away. They didn't even let everyone on. Bastards.

So I call the boyfriend, who is still about 15 minutes away, and he was kind enough to pick me up, and drive me to meet my friends. I ended up an hour late. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FAIL.

Things I have learned from this experience? Allow lots of time to get where I need to go (note to self: BRING A BOOK). Also, a monthly pass would have helped. I wouldn't have had to deal with buying tickets at every station, which is ultimately what made me miss the first train and started the chain reaction of FAIL.

At least I got a glass of wine and some cheese when it was finally over with.

On a totally unrelated note, there is now an Ugly Green Chair blog page on facebook. There's a link over in the side bar on the left, or you can just click here.



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© Whitney Brandt-Hiatt: All writing, images, and photogrpahy are the property of Whitney Brandt-Hiatt unless otherwise noted.