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Traveling Troubles: Part Two

July 7, 2008

MOVED!

My last post was getting a little too lengthy, so I decided to split it up. Anyway, here goes part two:

After only three days back in Boston and still exhausted, I dragged myself out of bed at 4AM on Thursday morning to catch a train back to my parent’s house in Delaware. Aside from having to have my cab driver drop me by an ATM when I realized he didn’t take credit cards, my trip was uneventful. I never even had to share my seat, which on Amtrak trains, is quite an accomplishment. 

My mom, along with her parents (the grandparents I had seen in New York), picked me up from the station and thus began my family loaded day. While still suffering from a travel hangover, I had to get myself through dinner with my mom’s parents, my dad’s  parents (who drove in for dinner), and my own parents. It was great to see my whole family, don’t get me wrong. I love my family. It is just a lot to take when you are alone with that many adult family members. Luckily, the conversation rarely turned to me and questioning my life, although it did come up. (I learned that in order to get married, I need to treat finding a husband like a job, which I obviously am not doing. No wonder I’m alone! What wonderful insight…/end sarcasm)

The next day, all the family headed home and were quickly replaced by my parents’ friends, who all happened to be coming through town at once. In the morning, my dad’s best friend from Alabama stopped by, as he was passing through for work (I think…). It was nice to hear what his kids were up to, as I spent a lot of time with them during our five year stint in the South.

Later that night, my parents’ college (in my dad’s case) slash childhood (in my mom’s case) friends, who actually introduced my parents to each other, came to stay for the night. I’d met them before, but the last time was at least 6 year ago. (Both then and now, I feel like I should thank them for my existence or something.) This was the first time, however, I’d heard some of their college stories while still in college. It was the first time I really saw how similar my dad and John are and how they could have been great friends in college, could have even been people I would have been friends with in college. It was the first time I really got to hear stories from back then and appreciate them. It was kind of weird but also kind of nice to think of my parents as people I would like even if they weren’t my parents.

The next day, we headed to Fabric Row in Philadelphia to go to a famous deli for lunch. I ate so much I felt nauseous, and again, we had an excellent time just talking and eating something called “Health Salad.” (“Do you think it’s made of health?”) Sadly, I think we cancelled out the benefits of the health salad with the eight cookies we bought on the way out. The day ended with my mom and I shopping and then coming home to watch “Michael Clayton,” (stopping every five minutes, of course, to explain what we knew and what we had yet to find out to my mom, who responded that she thinks she “lacks the mental capacity to watch movies.”) 

Sunday came way too fast, and the last place I wanted to go was the train station. I had finally resigned myself to leaving as we walked in the doors only to find my train was delayed an hour and a half. Blerg. 

Again, overwhelmed by not wanting to leave home, where I felt relaxed and happy to go back to my messy apartment where I usually feel agitated and alone, I started to cry. Lately, I feel as if I’m always on the brink of breaking down for no particular reason and when something pushes me just the tiniest bit, I crack and become a blubbering mess. Again, my parents assured me it wasn’t a big deal, which, of course, it wasn’t.

To turn the situation around, we took the opportunity to walk down the Riverwalk to a restaurant so I could eat, as I wouldn’t be getting back to Boston anytime soon. I calmed down as we ate, and my mom kept checking the status of my train. After being told it was still an hour and fifteen minutes behind, we walked back to the station, thinking we had time to spare.

When I walked in the station with my mom, we looked at the board, and my heart dropped. It seemed to say that my train was boarding right now, only an hour after it had been supposed to get in. I didn’t understand but also didn’t seem to have time to think about it. I ran up the escalator with my bags and jumped on the train just as the doors closed, thanking God I hadn’t missed it. I found a seat, briefly wondering if I had gotten on the right train, as the boards are mildly confusing about what is going on. I was reassured, however, when they announced the next stop as Philadelphia, which is always the stop after mine on the regional train. On the phone with my mom, she urged me to ask what train I was on, as the board had changed right after I ran up to the track, leading her to believe maybe it was not my train that was boarding. I blew her off, saying I was going the right way, so I wasn’t worried. 

As I settled in, we pulled in and then out of Philadelphia. As we pulled away the conductor came on the intercom stating the train number. It wasn’t mine. Of course.

Again, the tears came. Why couldn’t I just get through one simple task without making myself feel like a complete idiot? I texted my mom telling her she was right. The conductor came by, asking for tickets, and I explained to him what had happened. He didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal, telling me to just switch at the next stop as my train was behind this one by about 25 minutes, advice also given by my parents, who conceded that I wasn’t crazy: the board did make it seem like it had been my train that was boarding. 

I got off in Trenton and wandered around looking for where MY train would be coming. After asking and being given the track number by an obviously annoyed Amtrak employee, I waited on the platform, staring at the pouring rain, wondering if God too was crying about my stupidity and bad traveling luck. 

Eventually, my train came and took me back to Boston, granted a few hours later than I had anticipated. 

Now, I’m back to the grind, somehow more tired than before any of these vacations and more wary of traveling than ever.

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