Amtrak Anxiety

2 Jul

What is it about Amtrak that makes me so anxious? I don’t consider myself an anxiety-ridden person, but there’s something about those trains that get me all riled up.

This is the exact position I found myself in this past Friday evening as I entered Penn Station to board a train to Boston. Everything couldn’t have been more perfect. My bags were neatly packed, I got to leave work early and I even had time to grab a travel snack (traveling = time for junk food).

As I waited for my track number to be displayed on the big electronic board, the anxiety started to come over me. I couldn’t help it, tourists surrounded me and everyone was rushing to different gates blocking my vision. All of a sudden a stampede of people started rushing towards me. The track number had been posted. I finally asked someone in the heard of duffle bags if they had called the train for Boston. He replied, “yes, I’d hurry up if I were you!”. Suddenly panic came over me.

After being squished down an escalator where a man dropped his glasses and nearly killed us all, I finally reached the train platform. I walked down one car to realize I had walked in the food car. I panicked as I saw the hundreds of people behind me in line now rushing past me and taking up valuable window seats! Out of nowhere I possessed some sort of superhero strength and was able to carry my rolly bag over my head and ran head first.

Three cars down and still no seats. Finally I approached a car with tons of available seating. Jackpot, I think. I figured I had just gotten lucky; no one else had thought to walk down this far. I sit down and settle down in a prime window seat and see that the girl in the row opposite from me is throwing up into a trash bag. Jackpot was right; you really know how to pick ’em Linds.

The train begins to move. I decide to not sit and watch this poor girl, but go to the restroom. As I plop myself down, exhausted and sweaty from my excursion, the bathroom door slowly begins to open from the trains movement. I don’t notice until the door is almost halfway open and I have to waddle over to close it. Yes, the entire train car, including that puking girl saw me drawers-down. Fantastic, I think. Well at least now the puking girl isn’t the most embarrassed person on the train.

I head back to my seat hoping that the sunglasses I’m wearing shield my shame. Not the case at all. The second I get to my seat the man collecting tickets informs me that I am in business class and have not paid for a business class ticket. As if I was not embarrassed enough, this man has to explain in a megaphone volumed voice that I must move immediately. I look up at him secretly hoping that he’ll sell me the seat at a discounted price for the show I gave everyone 5 minutes before. He’s not buying it. Now not only am I the pantless girl, but now I’m the pantless girl who can’t follow directions.

I re-pack my things and head back 7- count it-7 cars!  Every time I saw an empty seat, I’d ask nicely, “Is someone sitting there?” Before I could even finish the sentence they would say, “Yep, taken”. I started to fear that word of my bathroom story had spread to the back of the train. Why else would no one want to sit with me? I’m a very sweet girl in an adorable pink t-shirt with snacks!

At this point, my anxiety turned into anger. I paid over one hundred dollars for this one-way train ride and I was not going to spend it sitting on the floor! I finally enter the caboose of the train and see that the very last row is empty with two free seats. I plopped myself down, threw my bag on the free seat next to me and looked up at a young Amtrack employee. He gave me a look basically implying that I wasn’t allowed to occupy two seats, but by the look on my face, he decided to keep his mouth shut.

Finally, victory. I bought a bottle of wine and took in the scenery.Thank god I booked a bus back to NYC.

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2 Responses to “Amtrak Anxiety”

  1. kaceytorres July 2, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Wow, what an experience! I’m glad you survived and that your trip goes a lot more smoothly once you make it to Boston:)

  2. springdoor July 9, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    That doesn’t sound like a fun trip. My husband and I took Amtrak once thinking it would be a neat experience. It was an overnight train and the guy behind us decided to recount the entire Nanny McPhee movie….all night! We also had to stop for a half hour in the middle of nowhere for some unknown reason. To make matters worse, at our stop, they didn’t pull forward enough and wouldn’t let us off, so we had to go 45 minutes further east to get off the train. Needless to say, we got a plane ride back home.

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