On Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of bed at 5 a.m.
I used to be better at this, I thought. In Kuwait, I'd get out of bed at 5, color comic books until 8, go to work from 9 to 5, then write at night until 11. But now, I need a really good reason to lure myself out of bed that early.
I had a good reason. My $19 BoltBus to the Greenbelt, Maryland Metro (subway) stop left at 8:15 a.m.
I managed to get out of the house by 7:10, which had me a little worried. The BoltBus stop is right next to the 33rd Street PATH train—just a 26-minute ride—but I should have left a little earlier.
And then... I just missed my train. I skipped along pretty fast to the station, but I really shouldn't have stopped to download that last page of art for work. My train pulled out seconds before I arrived.
And I waited.
Did you know that the trains that run every ten minutes on Saturdays actually only run every half-hour on Saturday mornings? Well, I didn't. Though I would have if I'd looked at the schedule. The train was due in at 7:53. That would put me at 33rd Street at 8:12.
At 33rd Street, could I run upstairs and down the block to the bus in three minutes?
Maybe. And maybe BoltBus would pull out a few minutes late.
I chafed and waited. The train was running a little behind, and then two guys with bicycles argued with the conductor about where they could ride with their bikes. We pulled into 33rd Street just a little late.
I still ran. In case the bus hadn't pulled out yet.
It had. As I emerged onto 33rd Street, I could see the orange BoltBus at the intersection of 33rd and 7th, pulling away as the light turned green.
I hurried over and tried to get on the 8:30 bus to Washington DC. It was sold out, and I don't even know if BoltBus does that sort of thing. I gave up and headed around the corner to the Eastern bus stop.
"No problem," said a woman with a change bag and tickets. "Just wait in this line."
One bus filled up and pulled away. Was I waiting on a 9 a.m. bus then? I pulled out my phone and went online.
There was an Amtrak train leaving Penn Station at 9:05. A glorious, comfortable, uncrowded train, where I could enjoy a bagel and tea in a snack car. Sure, it's a hundred dollars more, but standing in the sun in that crowded bus line, a hundred bucks suddenly seemed like a small price to pay for ease and comfort.
I'd like to say I've turned into a wuss, that in the old days I would have toughed out the bus. But if you've read my websites for longer than a few weeks, you'll know that when faced with spending a bit more for a good deal more comfort, I lose all sense of thrift and just give in. Which might explain why I'm not the best budget traveler.
The train ride was great, by the way. I had both large seats to myself. We pulled into Union Station at 25 minutes past noon, and 45 minutes later, I was greeting the Other Marie at the Alexandria Metro station.