Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New definition of "suckitude"

Union Station

Well, this certainly sucks.

I was asked to come to Chicago today to work - normally I do so about once a month when there is some meeting or another that requires my in-person participation. Today? My boss asked me to join them for the Chicago office's Thanksgiving luncheon.

That's all well and nice enough, but in all reality, in a few months I'll have had enough turkey to last me until next holiday season. The trouble and stress added to my day by an uneventful trip would have far outweighed the benefit of having a lunch (albeit festive) with my co-workers. But I figured that if all my boss was asking of me was to make a day trip for turkey, well, then, I shouldn't really deny him, should I?

I should have.

Cuz it turns out Amtrak has a new rule.

For the past six years I've been travelling to Chicago by train and for the past six years I've made an unintentional habit of arriving at Union Station with just enough time to walk briskly to my gate and half run/walk to the train just as they are closing the doors.

But guess what? Their new rule says that they close the door to the gate five minutes prior to the train's departure and won't let anyone else board.

Guess what time I got here today?

FOUR MINUTES before the train's departure.


The train was sitting there - I could see it. The little yellow step-stools still sitting in their places in front of the open train doors. They wouldn't let me (and the other three people) through to the gate.

In the past? I often arrived after the little yellow step stools have been stowed away. The train was all but moving.

The reason? S a f e t y.

I explained to the butch nice woman that I'd run to the train in heels plenty of times with no incident and that I was pretty sure I could handle it today.

She apparently doesn't wear heels, or otherwise didn't see the humor in that. (The three businessmen standing there, on their third beer? Did. And I think they would have hit on me if I hadn't huffed something unclassy under my breath and stomped away to complain to an Amtrak Customer Service Rep. Who, by the way, also did not appear to have ever worn heels, because she certainly didn't have any sympathy for me.)

After exhausting all other travel possibilities and finding no other transportation to Milwaukee that would either A) get me home before this next train would, B) get me close enough to home so as to not to require an obnoxious request for someone to come pick me up or 3) didn't cost an entire day's pay, I bought a book for half and arm and a leg, a Coke from McDonald's and all but chirped with joy when I realized there was free WiFi here.

Could be much worse. Momma gets a few hours by herself.



Tammy said...

Wow, if I knew that I might get a few hours by myself due to missing a train, I could be tempted to slow poke my way home! ;-)

Sorry you missed you train and the nice lady didn't have a sense of humor.

Mama Smurf said...

I think you should repeat this definition of "suckitude" the next time you make a trip to Chicago...because...a day to myself...with a book and a laptop qualifies as a fantastic day in my book!

Kim H. said...

Way to see the glass half-full! And if I still lived in Northbrook - about 20 minutes north of the Loop - I'd pick you up and I'd drive you back to Milwaukee! You know, just to gab! :)

Glad you found the best in it.

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

Sounds good to me: time to yourself, a Coke, free WiFi, and your camera. BONUS!

Kim said...

Um.. dang.. I want to miss a train now.. lol

Roger said...

TGIWF - Thank God for Wi-Fi, eh?

I would have given you a ride if you knew how to get a hold of me. :)

Comfy seats, no?

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I give you a LOT of credit for finding the silver lining on this experience!

maggie said...

Such really nutty rules. I mean, really, those are dumb rules. But I love that you got some time to yourself. With Wifi.

Dana said...

I've been reading your blog everyday (and I never comment, I know, I suck) and I just now realized you're in Milwaukee! I'm from Stevens Point, several hours northwest. :) Nice to "meet" you! Hopefully we can meet at BlogHer '09!

Rebecca said...

Oh wow... SIGH...

wfbdoglover said...

Just so you know, you can take the Metra to Kenosha. That wouldn't be so bad would it? I did like the WII playing idea better. Hope you had fun!

Kila said...

Bummer about the change in the rules, but time to yourself in Chicago sounds kind of sounds nice to me! ;)