So a significant portion of my life has been spent chasing buses, trains and sometimes planes. I like to think of it as the way I manage to get some exercise. What I can never fathom is however close I am to the train/bus station, or however far off I am, it doesn't matter. One moment I'll be sitting, relaxing at home, happy in the thought that I have 20 mins to leave and the bus stop is right outside my doorstep, and before you know it, I am banging doors, tripping over myself and forgetting important stuff at home to make the bus. Only to miss it by a whisker and come back home, before its time to head out for the next bus, rinse, and repeat. Sometimes I'm ambling about downtown, 30 mins to spare until the next train comes, I decide to go explore a bit or sit and read a book or get a coffee, and there, suddenly I am running wildly, pushing people out of my way and making my heroic entry into the train with a surly guard about to close the door on me. It's always like this. ALWAYS.
When I moved to this city I was very happy to be able to hop on a train and get around. The very idea of being connected by a public transport system after six years of living in car-dependent small town lutom was very pleasing. One of the first times I happened to be taking the train from its starting point. Now, I timed myself and everything, and as I was making my way to the station, I saw that the train was already there. Worried that I had somehow messed up the timing in my head (I transpose numbers in my head all the time), I began my usual dash. The worst part was that the next train was after a whole hour, so really, I wouldn't want to miss this one, or see it roll out of the station in front of my very eyes. Egged on by those very thoughts I made a spirited dash, and made it to the platform while the train was still there, however the doors were closed. I went ballistic and started banging on the door and jumping (the platforms here are sometimes on a much lower level than the train). As if to make mockery of the entire situation, the train promptly rumbled and rolled forth. That was it. Something snapped in me somewhere and I began wildly and desperately gesticulating to anyone who could possibly see me and may be pull a chain or do something! The train rumbled forth and stopped a few yards ahead. The doors opened, the conductor stepped out and let down the steps so people could get on. He gave me this blank stare. Suddenly a few other people materialized and everyone climbed on to the train nonchalantly. I got on too, and saw that there were still a few minutes for the train to leave. WTF was written all over my face. WTF and slapping forehead. Finally the conductor took pity and explained. At the last/first stop, before heading back out again, it was apparently a practice to shut all the doors and do what is called a "System check" before letting passengers board again. So the doors are closed and the train moves up a bit. Bleddy naansense. I think they should put that on the timetables or something. What kind of stupid ass practice is that anyway?
Since then everytime I'm at a station a few minutes early and see the train doing this system check thing, I look around to see if I can catch any other poor sod in the act of panicking. It has yet to happen, partly because there aren't that many times I'm early enough to see the system check in progress. :)