Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Bad Deed for the Day

So I am the bad Samaritan. Yesterday I took Amtrak from the delightful SoCal city of San Clemente (where I stayed with the delightful Chrissy and her delightful aunt) up north to LA (to the equally delightful and "fun" Rachel). I am unused to traveling this way so I made very sure I was ready. I memorized the times, bought my ticket on-line; we even drove over to the station to make sure I knew where to meet the train. I got up early, got to the train in plenty of time. I was feeling good. In fact so good, that apparently I was sending out "I know what I'm doing" vibes that caused people to ask me questions about the train. I was quite confident in my knowlege. My train came promptly on time. I jumped in, found a seat and was ready to go. Another girl even came up to me and asked if this was the right train for LA. I assured her and sat down. Train starts moving and finally so does my brain. "Did the conductor just say San Diego? SAN DIEGO???? Isn't San Diego SOUTH? EXPLETIVE DELETED." I panic. "Maybe the train goes all the way south to San Diego and then goes north to LA" (see I'm grasping at straws here). "ANOTHER EXPLETIVE DELETED."

So my friendly Amtrak conductor comes by and I sheepishly/hopefully tell him that I THINK I might have gotten on the wrong train. And of course THIS time, I'm right. I tell him that I'm afraid that another girl has done the same thing. We strategize. If we get off at the next stop and run to another train we can still catch a ride to LA- just an hour later. Now this is not technically the station where I want to go, but I am past caring because now I'm just dealing with the crushing guilt of causing this poor girl to be on the wrong train. She looks young too.

We get off at the next stop and run to the next train that's just about to pull out (thanks Arnold for carrying my suitcase!). All's well that ends well. Except... my little friend's news isn't so good. She was going to LA to catch a train to Oregon. The only train to Oregon that day. Which she missed. Crushing, humiliating guilt. I slunk out of the train in LA and hoped I wouldn't see her wandering aimlessly around the train station. My friends joked that I shouldn't watch the news last night just in case my little friend ended up dead in an alley. I hope she was okay. Did she spend last night huddling in front of a trash can fire sipping hooch? Did she find a nice man who said he would take care of her because she looks just like his daughter? Eeek... I must rescue a kitten trapped in a tree or find parents for an orphan or teach a homeless person to read right now!

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