The Skytrain is a big plus in our neighbourhood. The nearest station used to be fifteen minutes’ walk away, but then they expanded the line through to Coquitlam Centre, and now we have one just around the corner. On a good day, I stride to the station, hop on the train to Lougheed station, then change and ride eight stops to Metrotown. Then I only have to walk across the road, and I am at work. If I time it right, it’s about forty minutes, door to door, and I can listen to audio books all the way there and back.
Today was NOT such a day. Although the sky was blue and the weather pleasant as I walked to the first station, I arrived at Lougheed to a baffling message on the arrivals board. No mention of the Waterfront train I usually took, and the one that would take me back up the hill to my home station wasn’t due for 25 minutes. These trains are normally running four or five minutes apart at most. A twenty five minute gap meant a serious issue, not to mention that I’d be travelling in the wrong direction.
But I had another option. There’s a longer route to work, requiring an extra change, but it only adds ten minutes or so. I reluctantly went down the stair and up the other stairs to reach the far platform. I boarded that train a minute later, then noticed a train arrive at the platform I’d just left. As it pulled out, I could clearly see the destination on the end carriage – Waterfront. MY TRAIN.
But now I was on the VCC Clark train, also pulling out. I scowled to myself and stared at my feet. Which were in the centre of a spreading pool of coffee. My travel mug had fallen out of my bag, and I hadn’t closed it properly. Everyone in the carriage watched the stream of liquid as it gurgled back and forth with the motion of the train, getting in under all the seats. I had to stay on that train for eight stops.
At Broadway I leapt off, and raced up the stairs to the next platform. My brain was still hung up on the train I had missed, so when the “Waterfront” train chugged in, I didn’t hesitate to leap on it. A crowd heaved on with me, and I was shoved far down the carriage. That meant that, when I noticed we were going THE WRONG WAY, I could not get out at the first station to change trains. I had to work my way through the crowd and eventually escaped at Stadium/Chinatown.
I rolled into the office at 9.05am. It barely counts as late, given that most days I’m around twenty minutes early, but I was DONE. Lucky for me, my co-worker was happy to do the deliveries, so I could stay in the office and pack for tomorrow.
Tomorrow, as it happens, is my day off. I won’t be taking the train anywhere.
If you want to follow this trip on the map illustrated, start at Burquitlam and move your counter down to Lougheed. Pause there, then go on along the yellow line to Commercial/Broadway. From there, move your token onto the Blue line, going the wrong way past Main Street/Scienceworld and stopping at Stadium/Chinatown. Then go back along the blue line all the way to Metrotown. Phew! For true realism, pour coffee on your feet as you begin.