We are scheduled for our Spring Break, starting Friday( yesterday) to the 22nd. The Corona- a friend of students and a foe of everyone else, deems that perhaps the break maybe longer or the entire course content delivery may change to accommodate student requirements given more information.
A little Background
First, my flight ticket was from Boston for Friday night . Cousins of my husbands’ had been inviting me to stay with them at Boston, ever since I came to this college. I never could because of the various constraints on a students’ life. I thought classes finishing on Thursday, and flight ticket for Friday was a perfect recipe for a visit with the cousins- two birds with one stone.
Husband had been advising me to go to the airport as I usually did- that is directly without the detour at his cousins’ place- he was sure I could not manage with two heavy suitcases( for I had to pack thinking I was abandoning my room, courtesy, Ms. Corona).
I don’t listen to my husband often. What does he know about Americans and travel in the US, I thought . Seems like he knew a lot.
Per my course requirement, I had to take one course that was on a public health problem with relevance( or something to that effect) and the only one that fit my slot was this class. It is a new experience for me and I often have a lot of questions- having never directly dealt with this in my past life. I come from a country, where no mention is made of such issues. Last Thursday, while asking a question, in class, the teacher shushed me and asked me to wait- I felt it a direct snub- he wanted to get another student to ask his question. I am sensitive and often feel sad professors regulate questions from students based on their allotted time for class. This has happened with a student from the Div school who comes to this class too. This “shush” should have let me know how events of the rest of the day would pan out.
From Dorm to Station
I planned to leave at 5:30 pm to go to Boston. After the next class which finished at 4 pm, I rushed to my room, got my last minute things together- I had two huge suitcases packed up, considering that I might come back- corona scare and all. So I waited for my Uber ride which was for 4:40- he came on time( good thing) and we reached the station on time. That is about 4:45 pm.
The train was scheduled for 5:34 pm( these timings are important to understand what happened later). The display board said the NE express ( or whatever the name of the train was), was scheduled for 5:34 but was 10 m late. So I sat down on the benches and having not travelled alone on the train in the US before, I didn’t know what would happen. Around 5:30, I still was on the bench, and there were a bunch of announcements- this train is boarding and on the platform 4- I had two suitcases, and surprised beyond imagination, tried to run to the platform, lost my way, reached somewhere else, someone directed me and I reached platform 4 to see the train already moving.
I literally started crying- tried telling the conductor to stop the train as it was an emergency- he just shook his head. The ticket clerk at the information desk had told me to go to the platform only if the display said” Boarding” which meant the train was 10 away. Believe me Linda, no “Boarding” showed up, it was only a group of announcements at 5:30 pm that this train was on the platform- how was one to know? I gave up- lugging two heavy suitcases up to the top and then down back again to the information desk to see what could be done. The cousins’ were waiting for me after all.
My husband was on the phone with me constantly and he found out immediately that something was wrong- he said, just go back to your dorm and travel tomorrow- you can’t do it- its dark and cold and all-I didn’t want to go back as I had these two heavy suitcases and didn’t look forward to lugging them to the 8th floor.
I am stubborn, if not anything else- if I had to go, I had to go. So I went back to the ticket information desk and they said, I could go on the next train, which was scheduled for 6:30 pm- found out it cost a whole lot more( about 200$) and decided against it- they wouldn’t refund my money but would only give me a voucher for a next trip- after this experience, I wasn’t going on Amtrack anytime soon for sure. Despite my husband’s admonitions, I went to the Bolt bus counter and secured a bus ticket for Boston for 8:30 pm, which would reach Boston around 11 pm. But who would come picking me up from the station as the cousins were both working the next day and couldn’t stay up late- I would need to Uber myself to their house. All I knew was they lived to the South of Boston. I decided on spending the night at the South Station- after all, it always looked so active and lit up and couldn’t be such a bad place after all, and no one might pull me up for sitting on one of the benches the whole night, would they?
I wouldn’t know the answer to the question, because it turns out I didn’t spend my night there. I spent it back in my dorm room, being the good wife that I am. I ate humble pie, returned the Bolt ticket, booked an Amtrak ticket for the Friday daytime to reach Boston well in advance of my flight at 10 pm.
Always listen to those who know better.
And get onto railway platforms well in advance of the timings- do not wait for “Boarding” announcement on the display board and just assume every US train will arrive at its scheduled time and will leave at its scheduled time and there is no chain pulling to stop trains to allow errant passengers in.