My office is in downtown Chicago. Every day I take a metra train to and from work. Every day. For the past five years. For four of those years, I’ve been on the same train.
Back and forth. Back and forth.
Same repetitive pattern. Back and forth. Back and forth. Almost like crochet, in a way… #justgowithmeonthis
So I often walk to and from the train in a trance. Listening to music. Talking on the phone. Not really a big deal as long as I’m on time.
And on the right train. Because sometimes… just sometimes… weird things happen and they switch the track my train is on.
Like last week. When I was on the phone. And got on the train.
My call ended. I browsed some headlines. Rummaged through my bag for a book. And finally, popped my head up to look out the window.
I did not recognize a thing. And immediately realized my huge, HUGE mistake. And even though I was perfectly safe, surrounded by people, the idea of not having any idea where I was going was absolutely terrifying.
So I casually turned to my seat partner. “Excuse me, I don’t normally take this specific train (to be fair, that wasn’t a lie). Can you tell me what the first stop is for this one?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s Lombard.”
“Perfect. Thank you!”
As you can guess, I did not want to go to Lombard, which is 35 minutes due west of the city. I do not live west of the city. I live north of the city. And I was heading the wrong way. During rush hour.
After explaining where I was heading to my husband, he quickly replies, “GET OFF AT THE NEXT STOP!”
“THAT IS THE NEXT STOP!”
And so I expressed to Lombard. The train quickly taking me further and further away from home.
Total Cost of my mistake: 45 minutes, $35 in uber fees, an unbathed child and a cold dinner.
Luckily, that did give my husband enough time to get some wine chilled to the ideal temperature.
And then back and forth, back and forth I went with my current baby blanket project. Because routine is comforting. And mindless busy work is a great after a stressful day.
Although it never hurts to double check your work from time to time. Or in other cases, the sign for your train.