Fear and Loathing on Via Rail

Forgot to share this fun little anecdote about what occurred on my way home from my awesome Montreal week-end. I had taken the train, because there was a half-price sale and I could go first class for a really good price. The trip there was lovely - I was right in the front and the porter either sensed my anxiety or was just really really good at his job, because he seemed to explain everything to me in extra-precise detail, including how to get to the escalator when I got off in Montreal. It was like he had visions of me wandering around on the platform with my suitcase or trying to drag it up a staircase because I looked just that incompetent. Also, the food was amazing and there was plentiful train wine.

When I looked at my voucher for the trip back, it looked like they were changing their baggage regulations between the Friday and the Sunday. Naturally, the written rules were completely impenetrable. I had a huge suitcase for only two days because my husband told me to take one big roller bag and stuff everything in it, including my fairly heavy CPAP machine, so I wouldn't be carrying stuff if I had to walk any distance. I wasn't sure if the bag was too big or too heavy, thought, although it had been no big deal on the way there, and I loved that it was sitting in the rack at the front of the car and I could see it the whole trip, because I have ISSUES, people!

So I went up to the counter to ask where the gate was for my train, and then I asked if I should get my bag weighed or something. She told me to go around the corner and the man would help me. I went around the corner and the man told me to stick my suitcase on the scale. I did, and it looked like it came in just under the weight limit, so I was about to take it and go to the lounge, but suddenly the man slapped a tag on it and said, "Great. You'll see it again at Fallowfield."

What I thought: "Wait. No. I don't want it checked. I hate checking baggage. I don't trust any of you to not lose or wreck my stuff. How did I lose control so quickly? Give it back."

What I said: "Er....okay."

I walked over to the lounge. I sat down. I looked at the baggage claim ticket. I realized I wasn't supposed to check medical equipment. I realized I had given away a fifteen-hundred dollar machine I was still trying for free. I realized that the kids were at my parents' house and if they lost my bag I would have to tell my mother. I flushed hot and cold and started to hyperventilate. I took out my phone and thought I might look for comfort on Twitter and then realized when I got my phone and Angus's that I told them to give him the internet on his phone and not to put it on mine because I wouldn't need it and WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T I REALIZE THAT I MIGHT ONE DAY BE HAVING HYSTERICS IN THE VIA RAIL LOUNGE AND NEED TWITTER TO TALK ME DOWN??????????

I really didn't want to have security called, so I realized I was going to have to talk myself down. I told myself that it was only a two and a half hour ride and that even if my bag didn't make it, it would only be in Montreal (the odds that they would stick my bag on a train to Australia or something were pretty low, right?) I checked my ticket and it said the right station name on it. I took some deep breaths. I went to line up for my train.

When I got on my train, I decided that my fear of looking stupid was less than my fear of the anxiety attack ramping up again, so I asked the porter where and how I would get my bag back, and then I said "they don't tend to.... lose bags, do they?" The porter said that the baggage car was right in front of ours and my bag would be fine. She didn't give any indication that she thought I sounded like a loon. I wanted to give her some cash but I thought that might make things awkward.

The train started. I ordered a large gin and tonic. I read my book. Why can't I remember what book it was? Oh my god, it was this book, and there was a train crash in it. Strangely, that didn't affect me at all.

I got back to Barrhaven. I got my bag (it took them just long enough to find it that I wondered if they were messing with me). It was all good.


I'm so glad you got it back - I could feel the pnic setting in just reading (yeah, I'm exactly the same). Glad the food was good - we're heading across Canada in January thanks to the 50% sale :-)
Amber Strocel said…
After having my bags lost twice by airlines, I no longer panic over it. They are actually terribly nice about it, and they even drive them to your house. I used to totally panic at baggage claim, though, fearing my bag would never show up.

Still, I'm glad it all worked out in the end.
Wrath Of Mom said…
What I said: "Er....okay." -- this bit made me laugh out loud.

We took the train from Seattle to LA in 2010 -- it was lovely. Except there were no murders on board and no small Belgian detectives with silly mustaches sleuthing about. So it was a smidge disappointing.

Hannah said…
I'm always a day behind on commenting because your posts don't show up in email on the right day. For some reason.

Anyway! Yes, I would be Freaking the Fuck Out, thanks very much. I HATE checking luggage and will go to any lengths to carry mine with me. And this is without a $1500 machine I had on loan.


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