Last Friday I attended the Utah Science Teachers Association annual conference. The conference began in Provo at 9:00 a.m. Thinking I would avoid traffic and parking woes, I decided to ride the train and arrived at the Roy station at 6:30 a.m., 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure. Determined to make good use of my time, I sat and began responding to the backlog of emails that had accumulated in my inbox.
The northbound/Ogden train pulled up in front of me. It was loud, so loud that I did not hear the southbound/Provo train that pulled up behind me. I was still answering emails when the southbound train started to pull away. I watched helplessly--one cannot flag down a departing train--as it gained speed heading down the track.
Thank heavens for cell phones and husbands. I called Lance. He came to my rescue and we began a desperate race to catch the train. Looking at the train schedule and the traffic situation we figured out best bet for intersecting the train was at Woods Cross and began our pursuit. Fortuitously we arrived at the Woods Cross station 3 minutes before the train. Phew! I would be to the conference on time after all…..
….or not. I answered a few more emails and dozed some as the train headed to Provo. The dozing was particularly appreciated as I’d been up since 12:30 a.m., having been kept awake by racing thoughts and long task lists. I got to doze more than anticipated because the train had “door issues” and was delayed in Salt Lake City for 20 minutes. I walked as quickly as I could from the train station to the conference but arrived late and was unable to hear the keynote speaker. Fortuitously I had more time to catch up on emails.
The conference ended at 3:30 and it was critical I catch the 3:50 train so I could get home in time to join my family for our planned theater adventure that evening. I had no worries about catching the train. It took me 15 minutes of walking straight east to get from the station to the conference center; 15 minutes of walking straight west should get me to the train station with 5 minutes to spare.
I met up with a colleague after the conference and we began our trek to the train station. We’d been walking a bit when Shane consulted Google Maps. “It says we should be walking south,” he said. Positive that I’d walked east that morning on the way from the station, I insisted we continue walking west toward the station.
I was positive the station was west of the conference center.
I was wrong. By the time I accepted the fact that the train station was really south, we’d walked over a half mile in the wrong direction and I’d missed the train AGAIN!
Missing the train made it impossible to meet my family as planned. I’d also planned on napping on the train so that I could stay awake during the play. Gone were the plans for naps and family meetings. Fortuitously the train passed by the theater where we had tickets so my new plan was to get off the train near the theater, walk to the theater, and meet the family there.
The train had stops in Draper and South Jordan. I knew the theater was in Sandy and I knew that Sandy was next to Draper. I did not know where South Jordan was so I got off in Draper, figuring I’d just walk to Sandy...which I did. Five miles. FIVE MILES!
Fortuitously I’d worn Chacos with my dress so I made the trek in hiking sandals. Fortuitously there was no snow on the ground. My phone died en route so I was not exactly sure where to find the theater. Fortuitously our school tech specialist had mentioned in passing that my new Chromebook could be used to charge a phone and, double fortuitously, I had the cords necessary to do so. Fortuitously the phone rebooted at the intersection where knowing where I was going was critical and I made the correct turn. Fortuitously I had thrown away the cookie and potato chips I was given at lunch which prevented me from eating junk food when it became apparent that dinner was not on the night’s agenda. Fortuitously the stress of not knowing where I was going, of walking five miles in a dress in an unfamiliar place in fading daylight and then dark night, of missing the train not once but twice, and of missing dinner had me so wound up that I was able to stay awake for the play. And, most fortuitously of all, my family let me ride home with them so missing the train for the third time that day was not an option!
Life is good!