I missed the train.
Was on my way to a veterinary conference in Toronto. Kind of excited. Annual meeting. Lots of great lectures, exhibits and chances to say hello to colleagues. I’d booked the hotel months ago. Went on-line and bought my train ticket 3 weeks beforehand. Packed efficiently. Had all my ducks in a row.
To my surprise, I arrived at the station tonight to find that the train had left an hour earlier. There would be no more departures until tomorrow.
The ticket attendant was very kind as he pointed out to me that I’d booked round trip passage, leaving from Toronto instead of from Windsor. I’d gone in reverse! It did seem a bit strange to me that there was a 7 pm train leaving town. I’d faint glimmers that this was an unusual time but thought it was just a special schedule for weekday commuters. Hah! The fellow behind the counter generously rescheduled me for a future train trip, even though the ticket said non-transferrable and non-refundable. He seemed to sense it was an honest mistake.
Needless to say, all my organized planning went kaput. I quickly checked for any available flights (none tonight and all triple the price of a round trip train ticket). There was a bus leaving in the wee hours. But I’d already paid for the first night’s hotel stay, since I was to be a late arrival. There was no refund. With Plan B a bust, it was on to Plan C.
I had to call for a rescue pick-up ride (thanks bro!). I still had time to do the 4 hour drive and get to the hotel around midnight. No problem. I’d done the trip many times before, for work and vacation.
The truth? I was disappointed. The train ride was supposed to be my time…to write, to read, to study my animal acupuncture course notes. I was holding on to the idea of my plans for my time alone while travelling.
I spent a good half hour commiserating my bad luck and poor web/ticket reading skills. I was craving junk food. I was feeling the tightness in my low back that I usually get during my early cramps.
It took me a good half hour into the ride before I started letting it go. The sensations of disappointment, frustration with self and desire to be somewhere else other than in the car. I felt all of it. I observed feeling it.
I stopped to buy a hot French Vanilla cappuccino and some chocolate glazed Timbits.
As I drove, I listened to a recording by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Had been meaning to do it for a while but never got to it until now.
It was really interesting to watch myself work through all of those thoughts. I know I have buttons that are easy to push (I hate being late. I don’t like asking people to do things for me. I like being organized.) I know that I can get reactive in certain situations (I should’ve been paying more attention. I’d be spending more money on travel than I’d planned.) And I’m sure that those around me were seeing all those things too (My brother had to listen to me rant. I repeated the rant to my husband.)
However, that’s me. That’s who I am. I’m noticing and acknowledging what I’m feeling and doing at that time, in that place, in that moment. I don’t necessarily like all the things I observe but that’s not the point. The focus of observing is to see and recognize the patterns, or samskaras, so that next time, I might pause and then act differently. Still being true to myself in my actions but perhaps not so reactive.
I’m still buzzed from the evening. Sitting in the hotel room at 1 am and writing this post.
I’ll laugh about all it tomorrow. I’ll forget about all it in 10 years.