Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The amazing Olympic Sprint that will never be again

Those of you who have me on the tweets know I was up at an ungodly hour yesterday morning to catch the 1st LSE train (507 am) out of Oshawa.

My day really was trains, planes, buses and automobiles for a whirlwind trip to Montreal for business. A trip that almost didn't happen.

Oh it was close. It was so so so close.

Monday was a long day and my mother sweetened the crap by asking me to venture into the Eaton Centre - a place I HATE - "to run to Old Navy to fetch a sweater she put on hold". First of all, there is no 'running' to Old Navy. I work across from the Eaton Centre, where it starts. Old Navy is located where it ends.

I had a million things to do before leaving for this trip, some items that were delayed because I wasn't in on Friday. I was already working well past 'time to go home' and had to be up at 4am the following day. There is no saying no to my mother.

Those with an Eastern European mother know they are the first to throw out the guilt card. Screw the King of Hearts. Nothing beats the "next time you ask me to do something for you, I'm going to be too busy to do it, too" card. Her house wins. Every time.

By 730 pm, I'd done as much as I could on a presentation I had to provide graphics for. Knowing I had to call it a night, I left work and walked up Yonge from Queen to Old Navy (Dundas).

I buy the goddamn sweater and take the subway to Union. I miss the 813 pm train by 2 minutes.
This sets the mood for the rest of the night.

I sit around Union waiting for the 913 pm train, pissed off that I'm wasting time and all this over a stupid $17.25 sweater. Granted, that was the 75% off sale price, but still.

I roll out on the 913. I have the sweater, my purse, and a leather attache folder with printouts relevant to Montreal, notes from the company president about the presentation I had been working on, my boarding passes, the address of where I was going and reference guides for training all neatly bound and printed in colour.

On the train, I put the Old Navy bag and my purse under my seat and I slide the folder into the crevice of the seat between the cushion and armrest - this location is key to the story so pay attention.

As we leave Whitby, I'm so tired and unhappy that I will get less than 4 hours sleep that I'm no longer clued in to what I had with me when I boarded.

I remembered the sweater. I remembered my purse. (Oh yes, you know what's coming...)

I walked to my car all the way at the end of the lot - the same distance to walk from Queen to Dundas. As I get in my car I suddenly realize that I don't have the leather attache folder. Yes, those of you who are swift already knew this.

The train was still sitting at the station.

I threw my purse and the goddamned sweater into my car and took off running.

Here's what I didn't clue into: the train wasn't going anywhere but when I got off the train, it was "out of service" but only temporarily.

I'd like to point out a few things about me and running.
1. I suffer from chronic heel pain.
2. I'm overweight.
3. I have asthma.
4. I run like I'm treading mud.

As I reach the platform, my lungs are screaming, my feet are numb, I can't feel my thighs and I'm coughing. In fact, by the time I reach the accessibility coach, I am so out of breath I can't talk.

The engineer was on the platform and he took one look at me and asked me if I left something on the train.

I nodded. I coughed and gasped and felt like vomiting. He told me the doors would be opening soon once the train was back in service and that's when I clued in to a few people milling about the platform.

I didn't know! The hell! And I did that Olympic Sprint for nothing. Nothing!

I got on the train and could not recall which coach I was on, so I raced through the four locomotives east of the CSA and on the second run-through, found my folder.

I walked like a turtle back to my car and was coughing so hard, I was gagging. In hindsight, I should have just slept at the office.

I honestly don't know where the hell I was going with this. Other than to say when the CSA says to look around for your shit so you don't forget it, heed the advice.


Kathy said...

I also have an Eastern European mother and can concur with CJ. No two ways about it, the sweater will be fetched.

Mind you, EE moms have our backs like no other.

C.J. Smith said...

They do. But man, they guilt.

Squiggles said...

Am I glad I have a scottish mom... the guilt about being thrifty is enough.

But CJ, have you realised that had you NOT run to the platform to get your folder the train would have not been "out of service" and been halfway back to Whitby or the yard by the time you got there?

ExGOnowTTC said...

As i was imagining you running back towards the train, all i could think about was the Chariots of Fire tune.

C.J. Smith said...

The tempo of that song is the best fit.

Squiggles' comment is why I hauled ass. Still felt ridiculous once I learned the train wasn't going anywhere. But erring on the side of caution was worth the stroke.

Bicky said...

Our CSA in the morning (Mark) always reminds us, and I quote: "Please take a moment to look around yourselves to ensure you have all your personal belongings."

I just figured Lost and Found was overrun with umbrellas (ellas, ellas).

Glad you got the folder back. Hope the presentation went well in Montreal.

C.J. Smith said...

Montreal was a success.
Flying for me is still a train wreck. And those small planes didn't help ease my anxiety. I just about fainted during take-off.

AngelSil said...

I see your EE mother and raise you a JEWISH EE mother. Oi vey.

'run like treading mud' I hear ya. My short, stubby legs only run if something is chasing me.

Squiggles said...

oooo... did that little plane have the propellers?

I was on one of those flying from Toronto to London (ON one year at Xmas). Sat next to Padre, a row or so behind the propeller. The person in front did not like flying, you could tell by the body language. So Padre leans over and in a stage whisper asks me if the mechanic made certain that the propeller bolts were on tight enough. Because we were safe if it came off and through the plane, but....

The poor guy just about needed new underwear.

C.J. Smith said...

Propellers, yes.
I sat next to a guy originally from Texas who talked my ear off the whole trip so he could keep me distracted. It worked. Somewhat.

TomW said...

I was hoping for crazy VIA train tales...

C.J. Smith said...

Nope. Didn't take a VIA.

Jill said...

Oh my friend, why did you not just drive up to the platform from the back of the lot and save yourself a whole lotta agony???? Besides, would have been a lot quicker too :)

C.J. Smith said...

Been emailed that question as well.
It never crossed my mind. With other people leaving the lot, and sitting here playing back in my mind, I don't know why my brain didn't make that connection. I could have driven my car right onto the platform too.

lswgirl13 said...

I have a Canadian mom so she knows I'm boss.
That is a horrible feeling knowing you left something on the train, like my damn wallet last week but of course that had an incredibly happy ending.
I'm just wondering though - would you have risked a heart attack if it was only the sweater you had left behind???

Unknown said...

The best part of the story for me was the description of the fine athlete you are and numb body parts after the jaunt because I fit in all four categories. I have had to run for trains and I am sure it is going to kill me one day. Jenny Craig here I come

C.J. Smith said...


Yes. My mom would expect nothing less. Evil, I know

I'm just waiting for my dad to pipe up. He's been busy as of late, retirement will do that to you, so if there's one post he needs to read it's this one.