“Overconfidence precedes carelessness.”
― Toba Beta
(I wrote this on Saturday, August 10)
Instead of being en route to Boston I am sitting here at Penn Station with broken fingernails, scraped and painful knees, a sore wrist and wearing a pair of ripped jeans. That is the result of falling while running to catch a train.
When I fell I had no time to be embarrassed, but the fact that I fell on the sidewalk of a very busy street, right where there was the weekly Farmer’s Market is not lost on me. I quickly gathered all the spilled contents of my bags and took off running even faster. I got to the station with a 1 minute to spare.
The train is late, giving me time to finally assess the damages. Only now I realize my jeans are ripped on the right knee. 2 fingernails on my left hand are broken. My knees are throbbing and when I look through the hole I see blood. I am not even sure what to think or feel. I guess the prevailing feeling is anger at myself. I can’t blame this on an uneven sidewalk or anything else, this is all on me!
Finally after 10 minutes, that seems like 10 hours, the train comes and I jump in. I get settled in the comfortable seat. My entire body is sore, so it feels great to let my body relax in the seat and get ready for the 4 hour trip.
I am not relaxed for long. When the conductor comes and takes a look at my ticket, his face falls. He looks like he is going to start crying. He explains I am on the train to Washington and not to Boston. He cannot understand how I didn’t hear the many announcements he made. I consoled him and said it was not his fault, three or four times. I remember hearing announcements but never dawned on me to think to pay attention to what was being said. Also, the fact that the train was heading South instead of North was another detail I had failed to notice.
The conductor informs me that luckily the train is making a stop at Penn Station in NY City where I can get off and catch another train. After the conductor leaves I sit there thinking of how I need to change my ways. Why must I wait until the last minute to leave the house? Did I really need to vacuum the apartment? Did I need to make my own salad to bring? Why must I come up with 300 things to do and then have to run like a bat out of hell?
I laugh welcoming this little curve ball, realizing there are lessons here! I need to learn them and change my ways otherwise some thing worst than a bruised knee and a ripped pair of jeans is bound to occur.
With all being said about my need to change my ways, my positive self thinks that all this happened for a reason. I was not meant to be in that train and was meant to be sitting at Penn Station right now. I do not know why. I do not need to have a reason, I just need to believe that at this moment I am where I need and was meant to be!
“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.”― Winston Churchill
After I wrote the above, my train was delayed and eventually canceled. I had paid $60 more to be put on the 12pm Acela Express instead of the regular 1pm train. The Acela kept being pushed back due to mechanicals problems. The girl at the Amtrak counter tells me to wait until 12:45 and if the Acela is not set to leave she will put me on the 1pm. I make sure to ask if there will be still room on that. She said: There is plenty of room. Now, almost 12:45pm the announcement says the Acela has been canceled. I go to the counter, not waiting in line and going straight to the girl from before. When she tried to put me on the 1pm, she says: “oh, it is sold out!”. I think at this point I have tears rolling down my face. She feels my pain and is talking to co-workers and supervisors to see what can be done. All of a sudden after a phone call to someone she says that the Acela is back on.
What Amtrak ended up doing was combining both trains in the 1 pm. There wasn’t enough room, so take a guess who had to ride standing until the next station? At the next station people left and seats became available. That station happened to be my town, where I had started my trip 3 and a half hours early. Yes, it was tempting to just get off the train and go home.
It all seemed like a never ending comedy, where the only not laughing was me!
My tears at the Amtrak counter were not about wasting money and time, or ripping my favorite pair of NYDJ jeans, but about my lack of attention and care. I tend to be an airhead, careless and klutzy. I think I cannot waste a minute, and try to pack as much as I can on my day. All I do is talk about the need to pay more attention to my surroundings and to be in the moment, but no changes have been made. When am I going to start? This quirk of mine used to be cute – on Saturday not so much!
At times I do think I suffer of overconfidence.
At the end of the day, my trip was successful. I went to Boston to help a friend choose a wedding dress. That was accomplished, she has a dress now and she was extremely appreciative of my being there to help her choose it.
Now, for the wedding in September I think I will be driving!
“How could I have been so ignorant? she thinks. So stupid, so unseeing, so given over to carelessness. But without such ignorance, such carelessness, how could we live? If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions—you’d be doomed. You’d be as ruined as God. You’d be a stone. You’d never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You’d never love anyone, ever again. You’d never dare to.”
― Margaret Atwood