Me & Amtrak Don’t Mix

Two things you don’t know about me:  (#1) I’ve had three back surgeries – I’m called bionic; (#2) I still cannot pack light even when I’m only going away for two days. Case in point – this past weekend I needed to take the Amtrak from New Haven to Kingston, RI to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday.

My son drops me off at Union Station with my “antique roadshow/too heavy /but I’ll be able to manage it-luggage”, and all is well for the first 20 minutes. Suddenly my train has arrived and “all aboard” has been called to Track 2.

That is when I discover the escalators are broken on Friday. I hurry to find an elevator. It’s around the corner. I wait. It seems to take a very long time. It finally arrives, and I select “2” logically for Track 2 – however when I exit I find myself on Track 4 with not a soul in sight. I turn to go back into the elevator, but of course it has closed.

It does arrive and I’m back where I started carrying my luggage down the escalator and then up two flights of stairs hoping I won’t be headed for surgery #4 when a rather large “gentleman” walking past me advises that I should have taken the elevator… (Not kidding folks…I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he’s bionic too.)

Finally I’m on the train and have an aisle seat as the train is crowded (naturally). I try and squeeze my luggage under my knees; unfortunately it is jutting out a bit in the aisle. I fear this may be a problem. Mr. Conductor approaches and announces to me and everyone else in earshot that I cannot leave my suitcase under my feet and need to put it “up top.” Unfortunately for me, this is like asking for a miracle. I do not lift. I tell him this. He is very angry with me. Let me re-phrase. He is very angry with me. He orders my luggage to the “back of the train.” This is where all the poor/heavy/antique-roadshow/can’t-lift-your-own-luggage must go.

I find mine is not alone which gives me some comfort.Once back to my seat, my fellow passengers offer support as people thrown together in these unfortunate circumstances sometimes do. “Don’t worry; your luggage will be OK.”  … “He yelled at me too…” Like I said, me and Amtrak don’t mix. Next time, I’m driving (just me and my old luggage.)

Jacquie Kirchoff