Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Call Me Calamity

"Where in the USA are you, Stephanie?"  This is a question I've been getting asked a lot recently, and with good reason.  The past few weeks and the next month are full to the brim with travel.  I keep remarking to people, "I can't wait to get to China and sleep!"

From the 8th to 12th of June, I was in Albany, New York for my friend and former college roommate Sarah's wedding. She was the best roommate I've ever had (the girl fed me soup and changed my pajamas when I was sick -- how many friends will do that?), so being her maid of honor meant a lot to me.  Finally, I got the opportunity to do something big and meaningful for her.  It was also loads of fun catching up with her brothers, now that we were all free from the highly (ridiculously) restrictive/oppressive/strict/authoritarian college that we attended (which I, thankfully, transferred out of as a junior).

The beaming bride and I.
The wedding went beautifully, with very few hitches.  Oh, it rained on the wedding day and I suffered the humiliation of requiring three people to help me zip my bridesmaid dress (stupid thesis weight gain!), but none of that mattered when Sarah walked down the aisle.  In her white dress, her appearance was almost as beautiful as her soul.  I got pretty emotional seeing her come down toward us, as fleeting images of freshman and sophomore years flitted past.  I saw the two of us, playing pranks on our RA, strutting arm-in-arm down the commons while singing, pretending to be British secret agents while enjoying ice cream, scrubbing the dorm room furiously in order to pass our White Glove inspections . . . and now I'm tearing up again!

Being me, I naturally had to have at least one fiasco.  Call me Calamity!  On the day after the wedding, I was supposed to leave Albany and take the train back to Lynchburg, arriving home safely at 8:30 pm.  Sarah, who in all the nine years I have known her has never been wrong, was convinced that my train left at 12:55 pm.  I checked the ticket, saw "New York" and "12:55 pm" on it, and assumed that once again, Sarah was write.  Perhaps it was the wedding excitement -- for the first time, Sarah was wrong.  I learned this after her parents dropped me off at the train station.  I thought it odd that my train number was not among those listed, even though it should be departing in less than half an hour.  I checked the ticket . . . and discovered that I had looked at the wrong ticket when I checked the day before.  My train had left without me four hours earlier!

I ran to the ticket counter and begged to be rebooked.  The kindly ticket agent sadly informed me that all the trains to Virginia were morning trains.  I would not be getting out that day.  Since I knew that I had to move in three days, this situation just wouldn't work.  I called out city after city in Virginia, which a headshake in response to each.  I tried North Carolina -- no luck.  Finally, in desperation, I asked to be routed to Washington, DC, then frantically called friends seeking someone willing to drive almost four hours up to retrieve me.  I was in luck.  My friend Cody, a knight after the order of Lancelot in spirit, graciously volunteered.  He got lost on the way up, but no matter:  at 9:30 that night, he found me.  We made it in to Lynchburg at 2:30 am.

On the bright side, it was neat to see Union Station.  And how fitting to visit DC one last time before leaving the country!

No comments:

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"