Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Hope I See My Car Again

So.  Bought all that stuff.  Conveniently, I have a new suitcase to put it in.  In my office.  I ordered it off eBags, and I was hoping it would come in time for this trip.  It did; it just didn’t come in time for me to pack it for this trip.

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Train leaves at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />7:00.  Train station is no more than 5 minutes away.


At about 6:00, I open up my brand new suitcase on my desk.  I shove my $27 worth on crap in it.  I leave the office around 6:10.  (It took forever to get those little metal thingies out of the socks; and I had to use a staple remover to get the tag off the sports bra – it was sewn on and nothing else could get under the thread.)  To my car!


In the parking lot, I open the hatchback of my car.  Put new suitcase in.  Open old suitcase.  Move contents from B to A.  Move contents of backpack as well.  (Yay!  Backpack now much lighter.)  Get in car.  6:20.


Drive to Amtrak station.  The lights are taking forever.  One more light and I’m the station.  6:30!  Yay!  I made it!


I didn’t make it yet.  The parking lot says “No overnight parking.”  I’m looking for long-term parking.  I don’t find it.


I find a guy in a little booth.  “Hey, where do I park?”  He tells me to go back to that lot.  “It says no overnight parking.”  He tells me go down to the light, turn right, turn right again, and then there’s parking.


I leave the land of Amtrak and wait for two more slooooooow lights to change.  I’m circling a very big block.  I finally see a sign pointing me toward parking, which is sorta under a building.


I go in.  I park relatively near an elevator.  I take the elevator.  6:40, now.  I can make this.


The elevator dumps me at… the top of the parking lot.  I look up.  I need to be up there.  At the next level up.  There’s no stairs; no elevator.


I see a janitor guy cleaning up.  Ask the janitor guy how to get in.  He tells me to walk back into the parking structure, make a left, and go through the double doors.  I thank him profusely.


I go in the parking structure.  I make a left.  There are no double doors.  There’s a big metal garage-door type thing and it’s closed.  Behind me there’s an elevator lobby but there’s a wall between me and it and while I can jump the wall, my luggage can’t.  There’s no way around the wall.


I keep trudging through the parking structure and find the left turn and double doors of which the janitor spoke.  I dive in there.  Take the elevator to …


… the Transit Authority office building.  With a security guard at the desk. 


“Um.  How do I get to the Amtrak station?”  (As if my frantic look and luggage behind me does not give that one away.)  He tells me to walk out the door, turn right, go into the next building, down the escalator, and down the tunnel.


I repeat this back to him.  (Teenage Drama Workshop training kicks in.  When the stage manager yells “Five Minutes,” you yell back, “Five Minutes, Thank you!”)  I seem to have it right. 


I also have 15 minutes until my train leaves.


Small bonus here – once I walk out the door and turn right, I actually know where I am.  I’m in the transit plaza where – on those rare days when I take the train to work, I catch the connecting bus to my office.  So I know there’s a very long tunnel with platforms off of it.  I just need to find the right one.  AND I know there’s a ticketing machine at the front of tunnel, where I can pick up my reserved tickets.


At 6:47.


I pad on down the tunnel, looking for the train to Santa Barbara.  It isn’t on any of the signs.  I ask a helpful employee where my train is – he takes a guess at the platform.  I head off toward that tunnel where another helpful employee is setting up the sign for my train.  She scolds me for being here – apparently, they haven’t called the train yet and I’m not supposed to have to left the station yet.  (She has no idea that I’ve never actually set foot in the station.)  Yes.  I’m EARLY.


… but I honestly don’t know how I’ll ever find my car again.  Both the elevator I took inside the parking garage AND the Transit Authority office building will be closed when my train gets back at 9:45 on Thursday night.

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