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Showing Up Late ... Two (funny?) Stories  
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7957 posts, RR: 12
Posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4339 times:

Being late is an awkward feeling, isn't it? Especially if you show up late for work because of something you are to blame for: You overslept (at least you'll be wide awake in a split of a second), you hopped on the wrong train (Panic!) or missed the right one (the sky is falling!).

At the same time (pun not included), embarrassing situations sometimes look funny in retrospect. Here are two such situations that happened to me roughly ten years ago. So by now I am calm enough to share them.

I was a freelance producer, author and lecturer in Berlin and had a client in Potsdam. Classes started at 9 am, and I usually got up as early as 6 to be there at 8:30 and have a little time for a coffee and preparations. I always took the train for various reasons.
One Monday morning I woke up by myself without the kind support of my alarm clock. That wasn't a good sign to begin with, and what I read on the display of the alarm was even worse: 8:00. I didn't know how I managed to oversleep by two hours, but I did know how to manage to be out of the door after only 15 minutes. Ran to the subway, which just arrived. Good. Change at Alexanderplatz for the regional train. There's one waiting - very good, I *have* to catch it as they leave sparsely. I left my watch in my flat, which isn't too bad. But I forgot my cellphone too, so I cannot call my client.
Potsdam. Finally. What time is it? Station watch, quick glance, don't stop. Seven o'clock. Wait? Seven?!! It was supposed to be 10 or 9:30 at least.
When I woke up, I was so much expecting to be late I, misread the 6 as 8 on the digital display. In addition, summer daylight saving time had ended the day before, and I forgot to set my alarm clock back by one hour. When I woke up, it was only 5. Five not eight.
At least I had now plenty of time for a breakfast.

// --- snip snap ---

Same work, same client. I board the train in front of me which is supposed to take me to Potsdam. Sadly it didn't. Shortly before Potsdam, the train takes a left curve heading south rather than west. Either my reading skills failed again, or somebody else seriously #'$@!-up with the displays at the station. Since I was the only one starting to panic, I guess it was all my fault. The conductor suggests to leave the train at the next but one station so I can take a direct train from there to Potsdam. The next but one stop is a village called Beelitz, and it looks as if I was sent back to the 50's. I take out my cellphone to call my client, but there's zero (zero!) reception. I ask a conductor or so where my train leaves, and if I can call my client using a fixed-line phone: "Well, ei wuff make hop hop 'n' take tscha train da quick." Pointing to narrow track diesel train which must have been almost new 40 years ago. There isn't really a platform, so I climb over one or two tracks, the car smells of wood and diesel fuel, there are wooden benches, and I know the ride is going to be fun, that is if I wasn't late. The train is so slow, you could ride a bicycle next to it. There is no railroad embankment or so, the train is seemingly plowing itself through yellow canola fields and meadows with poppies and cornflowers. It's a sunny and beautiful day. Class will wonder where I am. I am somewhere stuck in the fifties with a good-for-nothing cellphone, a good-for-nothing notebook, wearing "casual business" and a sense of perfume
on an old narrow track train with wooden interior and fumes of diesel fuel.
The first stop is a railroad crossing. On the left, there's a car, on the right there's a cyclist talking to the train driver. Eventually the driver passes a bunch of letters to the cyclist. So he's a postman. They talk a little more. The car is waiting without blowing the horn. I am waiting too, trying hard to enjoy the bizarre situation I am in.
The second stop is somewhere in the middle of a field. There's a farmer's wife standing at the railroad. She is wearing a headscarf, a checkered apron and two bottles of milk. The train driver pays for the milk. They talk.
Does it really matter if I am "only" two or two and a half hours late? I mean it's so .. so calming ... the fields, the flowers, the tchadum-tchadum of the train, the blue sky. There's another farmer's wife hanging up her wash. The driver's opening his window and shouts something, the woman laughs and shouts back.
An hour or so later I am standing in-between computers and a video projector and apologize for being two hours late.


I support the right to arm bears
7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinen229nw From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 1950 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4320 times:

Those are funny.

Quoting NoUFO (Thread starter):
An hour or so later I am standing in-between computers and a video projector and apologize for being two hours late.

After the first story, I thought you were going to realize that actually you weren't late but rather 50 years early, and you really were back in the 1950s...

Does the slow train from Beelitz to Potsdam still exist? It sounds as if it would be quite an experience...



It's people like you what cause unrest!
User currently offlineWolverine From Germany, joined Aug 2006, 411 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4297 times:

Some years ago, when Clinton was still the president, I was working on the nightshift. I have to say, I was working in Frankfurt, and had to drive at least one hour, until I was home. I went by car usually, and I never listened to the radio, I preferred my CDs.

Well, my shift finished at 6 in the morning, and I was already a bit sleepy, so I decided to take the highway. I was a bit surprised, to see an orange road-building truck on every lane, but, what the hell... Suddenly the trucks stopped, closing the highway. Well, ok, let's wait and see... 5 minutes passed, and nothing happens, except a lot of police cars passing with flashing lights on the emergency lane. Some of the police cars stopped infront of the trucks, the officers leaving their cars and starting to talk to the truck drivers. This looks like it will take longer, so I turned off the engine.
An hour later, we're still stuck in the same place. My mother called me, and asked, if something happened. I opened my last can of Red Bull, to stay awake, while the guy in the car infront of me, was already sleeping.
People started to walk around on the highway, asking each other, if anybody knows, why the highway is closed...
Finally, somebody asked one of the policemen.

On that very day, president Clinton was visiting Germany, his convoy taking this highway. So they closed it down for that time. In both directions. I wondered, if he would pass us on the other side, but I think, he left some exits earlier...



Face your fears, live your dreams! (No Fear)
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7957 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4247 times:

Quoting n229nw (Reply 1):


:D
A time machine would be something I would definitely buy if I could.

As for the train, the direct route no longer exists. There's now a more modern train ( http://img.fotocommunity.com/photos/11175820.jpg; mine looked like this: http://de.academic.ru/pictures/dewik...enbus_am_Mainufer__Frankfurt.jpg), and you would have to change for a tram or bus.



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlinen229nw From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 1950 posts, RR: 31
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4213 times:

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 3):

:D
A time machine would be something I would definitely buy if I could.

Actually, the "future-paket" offered here would have helped you with all of your problems that day...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mm5jtvK3xs



It's people like you what cause unrest!
User currently offlinen229nw From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 1950 posts, RR: 31
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4049 times:

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 3):
mine looked like this: http://de.academic.ru/pictures/dewik...enbus_am_Mainufer__Frankfurt.jpg), and you would have to change for a tram or bus.

By the way, that type of two-car (or even one-car) old diesel trains are still all over the Czech Republic

http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/cz/...0/red-cream/500-678/810-600-mt.jpg

(They run on the routes called "personal trains" that connect up small points...), so I've actually been on a bunch when visiting the wife's family there. Once I saw a REALLY old one, that seemed to be running normal duty...

I think it was this one from 1949:

http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/cz/diesel/dmu/831/CD831_1102je.jpg

Sorry to take this thread totally off topic...but, just to get it back on topic, I should note, that in my experience these trains usually run quite late!



It's people like you what cause unrest!
User currently offlineus330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 3871 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4029 times:

my story: I was a sophomore in college. Like most college students before midterms, I was cramming late the night beforehand for a 9am midterm. At about 430am, I'm seriously drained, so I go back and lay on my bed with the intention of merely taking a brief three hour nap--set my alarm and everything,but am still wearing the same clothes I had on that day. I wake up, and look up at my clock--its 915am.Nothing will wake you up faster than realizing you are late for a midterm. My reaction "oh...."--throw on a pair of tennis shoes still wearing my clothes from the day before, and sprint the three or four blocks to my class. I walk in about 9:20 with an exasperated expression on my face, the ta hands me the midterm, and I get to work. I finish the thing at 10am, sprint back to my room, shower, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, change my clothes etc., and arrive five minutes early to my next class at 1030, which was in a building right next to where I took my midterm. I felt the rest of the day feeling like I was a total bad@ss and thinking I was the king of the world.
And my midterm grade? B+


User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7957 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3942 times:

Quoting n229nw (Reply 5):
Sorry to take this thread totally off topic...but, just to get it back on topic, I should note, that in my experience these trains usually run quite late!

At least they do run. On cold winters electric trains regularly cause trouble. Or the overhead line is so covered with ice it literally breaks. Happened to me once on Christmas Eve.

Quoting us330 (Reply 6):
And my midterm grade? B+

Congrats.   
Skipping 20 minutes is a lot if you only haf an hour.



I support the right to arm bears
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