Friday, July 20, 2007

Wait ... stop the train ... let me off!!!

What a weird week it's been.

Gregg and I drove up to Portland Monday night to see Rasputina in concert at the Hawthorne. We've seen Rasputina a few times. Love them. Melora comes across as kind of cranky and eccentric ... much like one of our favorite authors, David Sedaris. Apparently we're a big fan of the cranky eccentrics. Anyway, Rasputina played several of their new tunes. Loved them all. Gregg thought they were selling out a bit ... one of their songs was less discordant, more of a "mainstream pop" sound, than is customary in their music. I still thought they kept close enough to their unique style and sound, and loved it all. And they played several old favorites. The Hawthorne was a bit smaller than we'd expected, and had absolutely no ventilation. A girl could pass out in that much heat and humidity.

We had a nice walk back to our friends' home, which we were house sitting. And the next morning realized we'd lost their house key!!! And I actually mean Gregg lost their house key!!! Freakin' stunning! Gregg is my finder of all things lost ... he doesn't lose things, he finds them.

I had a pretty good couple of days working in Portland. Stopped at Pix Patisserie on my way to the Portland office Wednesday, to pick up some goodies to bring home to Gregg after work. I was introduced to the place once, and have absolutely fallen in love with it! Since I don't have regular access it's going to become an obsession I can't indulge in; I'm going to start having dreams of their desserts. Can't help myself.

I mistakenly thought I'd be able to walk from the Portland office to the train station, to catch my train back home. Started walking, and realized that not only did I not have a clear picture of the distance, I couldn't find a taxi?! I don't know where the downtown Portland hotels are. There are always taxis in front of the hotels, and I figured I'd come across one at some point. No luck. I ended up ducking into a Starbucks along the way and asking for the number for a taxi. Got to the train station in the nick of time! And the train was delayed. Only about 15 minutes, but with the wait for the taxi and the 15 minute delay, I actually could have walked the distance. Ah well.

So then ... this is where the week got even weirder ... I got into the train. Stashed my many bags in and around my seat. Set up my computer, and got some work done. Grabbed a mini bottle of mediocre Chardonnay and some equally mediocre Madelines, and read the Willamette Weekly for the rest of the ride home.

I love taking the train. For $15 one way it's barely more than gas, and less than gas + parking. A lot of people complain about delays, but in my experience I've only once been more than 15 or 20 minutes late. I don't even consider that late for public transportation, and when I take the train I plan for the lateness. In fact, as a rule I never take the train when my arrival is time-sensitive ... when I need to make a travel connection or a close meeting time. The way I see it, if I plan it properly, it's less stressful and much more productive than driving. I gain an hour and a half of usable time since I can actually work, play, or relax on the train.

So after working and relaxing, we approached Albany. I got all of my bags in order, ready to grab the moment the train stopped. Train stopped. I grabbed bags and stood up ... looked to either end of the car to see where the door was going to open (they only open certain doors at the stops). Saw the door open at the far end of one of the attached cars, and immediately headed toward the door. As I approached the door, it started closing!!! I stuck my hand against the door hoping to trigger it open (like an elevator). Doesn't work like that! So I started yelling at the conductor who was on the other side of the door ... and then banging on the window of the door. "Hey ... I'd like to get out here ... hello!" No gold. The only "official" I could get to immediately was the cafeteria woman ... and as I was talking to her the train started to leave the station! I'm sure if I'd been more composed I'd have seen an "emergency stop" button or cord or something. Never actually looked for one. And at this point I was beginning to wrap my head around the fact that I was headed for Eugene, and was going to need to call Gregg to let him know where to pick me up. Somebody more together than me must have noticed my predicament, because the train stopped shortly after leaving the station. The conductor said that he couldn't back up the train (okay, hadn't even considered that he could), so did I want to get out here and walk the track back to the Albany station, or go ahead on to Eugene. I'll walk, thanks!

Wow. What a trip. So I walked the 100 feet or so back to the station parking lot. Weird!!! I think it was a combination of me sitting in the "wrong" car (I wanted to use the tables to set up my laptop), and the fact that the conductor who'd checked my ticket and knew I should be departing in Albany was a new employee in training, and she wasn't the one who opened/closed the door at the station. That's never happened to me before, or to anybody I've spoken with who's traveled by train. Still, next time I'll be a little more proactive about avoiding this sort of FU.

And the kicker ... and what really bugs me still ... is that I forgot those damned desserts under my chair!!! Walking along the railroad tracks carrying all my bags ... actually kind of a laughable, "oh yeah, this is my life!" sort of thing. Losing the desserts ... that's just so typically me, and so entirely disappointing!

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