I put TR on the wrong train.
Yes, you read that right. I put my eldest child, one of the most precious things in my life, on the wrong train and sent her off into oblivion. Then I panicked, tried not to let my true hysterics show, and stayed on my cell phone with her until Briefcase could track her down and save her from my stupidity.
As background, TR is deathly afraid of trains. (And that really didn't help matters in this case!) She has had an irrational fear of trains her entire life. Ever since she was a young child she has been afraid of them and relayed to me every train accident she has ever heard of anywhere in the entire friggin' world. My daughter has major train phobia.
She has been home visiting from college for a few days. A friend drove her here and we had the choice of flying her back to college, driving her ourselves, or putting her on a train. The train seemed the most efficient. She could study while traveling and the cost was cheap compared to a flight. Our gas costs if we drove her would be exorbitant. In addition, in less than two weeks we will be visiting her to move her home for the summer. It would mean a lot of driving to make the trip twice in ten days. I laughed at her phobia and reminded her, "nothing will go wrong on the train!"
TR and I sometimes get a little (!) emotional saying our good-byes. OK, so maybe I border on hysterical but I am improving as time goes on. I was quite intent on keeping it all together this time and so who can blame me for what happened next? We were waiting at the train station and TR was telling me a funny story when the train arrived exactly on time.
We hugged and we BOTH heard the conductor call out a series of destinations that the train would be going to which included hers. She hopped on board and I (sniff, sniff) headed to my car. With a nagging feeling in my gut. Those destinations? They just didn't sound like the logical path for the train to be taking. But then, what do I know about train routes? Absolutely nothing, that's what.
I was halfway home when TR sent me a text message saying "something doesn't seem right". In addition, she informed me that a man who looked "just like a vampire" was hovering. Panic set in. I am pretty fast at texting, but not while I am driving. In this case, it didn't matter. My car was weaving in and out of lanes as I texted back, "You must get away from Vampire Man! Find the conductor and ask if you are on the right train!" A series of near hysterical text messages followed with TR becoming more and more frightened about her "runaway train".
Not only was TR on the wrong train, but she was on the wrong train line! Who even knew there was more than one in existence? She texted me again and her message said, "Conductor says ticket is for Amtrak. Am not on Amtrak. He's NOT NICE and is judging me up the A-Hole." (Excuse her language – she was quite upset. And I don't know where she would get that type of language from anyway!) I told her to get off the train at the first stop and then we proceeded to try and figure out where the hell, exactly, that stop would be. Briefcase started packing a suitcase while I continued the nonstop texting with TR.
Vampire Man exited the train when TR did and continued to hover. There was no indoor waiting area and TR called me and kept me on the line until Briefcase arrived (an hour later). She said it was "incredibly windy, there are huge pretty trees here and there is really bizarre music coming from an indeterminate source." Before departing the train, TR had texted her boyfriend to let him know what happened. She said instead of being worried, he just sounded grateful he wouldn't have to pick her up in the middle of the night at the university's closest train station. Her roommate, upon hearing the news (also via text) thought the entire fiasco was hysterically funny.
As TR departed the train, the conductor informed her that the PA system at the station had been broken. What he had actually said over the loudspeaker was the destination the train was headed to, followed by the news that her train (destinations number 2 and 3) was delayed. What we heard instead was, "This train is going to [destination 1] ..pause .. [destination 2] and [destination 3].
So I am a moron. Now, as I write this, she is in the car with Briefcase traveling back to college. This post will go out shortly after midnight and I imagine they will still be driving right about then. Briefcase will return TR to her dorm, find a hotel to crash in, and begin the drive home in the morning. I think this is my all time most idiotic moment.