Monday, August 18, 2008

The ferry and I are fighting

I feel like I've just been let down by a really good friend. Every day, I step on this wonderful boat and enter oblivion. I look at the charcoal waves, the jutting strips of land, the trees scratching the sky, the tall buildings of Seattle slowly inching toward me. The ferry is my sanctuary, my time to relax after a hard day or prep for a new one. But yesterday, the ferry let me down, after I'd put all my trust in her.

The ferry is hardly ever late. Yesterday, it was 30 minutes late, which equalled disaster. My friend Andrea from Portland was in town, and needed to catch a train on Sunday.

"Sure, we can take the 1:10pm, that gives us 40 minutes to get to the train station."

We waited, and waited and waited. We chewed our nails and watched the horizon frantically. Finally, the boat pulled in, and we waited in nervous silence as the boat CRAWLED across Puget Sound.

On the other side, we raced for the taxis, but TWO drivers refused to take us to the train station. We pleaded and yelled, to no avail. Finally, we get in a cab and its 1 minute until the train leaves. We race for Tukwila, only to miss it by 3 minutes. We head to the airport, to find out a rental car is $169 for one way. She buys a Greyound ticket leaving from Tacoma, we head there and find out the bus is FULL. Both of us are on the verge of a breakdown, when I call Amtrak. There are TWO tickets left out of Tacoma, and she snags one, after about 5 hours of frantically trying to find a way home.

The entire thing is the ferry's fault. This piece of public transportation that delivers me to work and home right on the dot every single day, let my friend and I down when we needed it the most.

Today, the ferry is trying to make it up to me. I can't help but feel relaxed by the lulling vibration of the engine, the wide expanse of water, the oil painted sky. But I'll never trust her to deliver me on time again.


Paula said...

Oh my gosh, how stressful - isn't that Murphy's Law? And this reminds us that we are not in Japan, where I hear that if a train is to be there at 8:02, by God, it is!
At work, I've learned that if we send a priority mail package, it will be there on time 99.9% of the time - unless, of course, someone needs to get it before leaving the country.

Travis said...

I had a similar experience, minus the ferry...a few years ago. I had a friend from Portland staying with my family in Port Orchard for easter. He had a return ticket on amtrack out of tacoma..the last train of the day.

We left the house in plenty of time...then we hit (what kitsap countiers call 'bridge traffic)... the HORRIBLE bottleneck that used to clog both sides of the Tacoma Narrows bridge (before the second one had been built). It took us 45 minutes to get from Gig Harbor across the bridge...where I floored it...and we missed the train by 4 minutes.

I then had to drive my friend home to Portland...and then drive myself back to Spokane FROM portland. 3 hours to portland...a short stop....then 5+ hours to Spokane. I didn't get home until 3 am.

everytime I cross the new narrows bridge I think of that and I thank the state for building a second one.

McJumpguez said...

UGH! That's all I have to say about that . . . I have a new fear of being lost in a big city, but at least I had a buddy. Seriously, if you weren't there, I would have just cried over the phone.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like your somewhat new to commuting by ferry. They are usually reliable but not always and after 10 years I have become accostomed to occasional delays (usually medical, personnel or mechanical causes).
But blaming the ferry??
I have a 3 hour commute, one way, one hour of it on the Bremerton ferry.

Here's my rule of thumb: I am responsible for being late. Nobody else.

This means I don't get angry at the driver in the car in front of me for driving slowly (It's my fault for cutting my time so close). If the ferry is delayed, I can handle that if I am heading to work as I can work on my laptop; If I have a plane/train to catch I try to allow myself about 2 hours in Seattle before the plane/train leaves. This allows for unforeseen delays.
It's your fault you missed the train.

Kristin said...

Yeah, you're right it is my fault, it just felt good blaming the ferry at the time. But I did learn my lesson: if there is a plane or train to catch, leave TWO FERRIES early, just to make sure I don't get stuck in delays. I was so bummed my friend got such a warped view of the ferry system, I think she's scared of them now!