Wednesday, October 07, 2009

How I added an hour to my daily 2-hour journey to work

Word of the day: vertraging = delay

The awesomeness of today is that... I have a swollen ankle.

It was supposed to start out nicely, being able to get up an hour later cuz Schrobbenmaster had a meeting at 10am in Leiden Centraal, which meant that I could follow him on that train then continue on to Amsterdam Sloterdijk for work.

Unfortunately, as I was walking down the stairs to the front door, I missed one (or a couple of) steps and tumbled down onto the landing, hitting the corner wall. Thankfully that landing is really small so I couldn't really sprawl out and hit myself in other places. My right foot did go all wonky and completely twisted itself inwards though, and when I landed, I immediately (almost automatically, even... I'm quite impressed) took my foot in my hands and put it right again. However, it hurt so much that I couldn't even breathe properly, much less talk to Schrobbenmaster and tell him how I felt. I just sat there paralysed for a whole minute and finally panted out to him that I hurt my ankle and needed a couple minutes for the pain to subside to some bearable degree.

There was no option to skip work either because today's the deadline for the festival newspaper and they really needed me at the office. And now the blessing which was the late meeting at 10am for Schrobbenmaster became the curse, as now we had missed that train and he had to take another train on a different route from mine and leave me alone at Rotterdam Blaak station.

I hobbled to Blaak on Schrobbenmaster's arm, where he boarded his train and I waited for 20 minutes for mine. I found a platform to raise my leg, which was quite comfortable. I waited and I waited... and an announcement came about my 9.35am train, where I understood everything except the one word. Which turned out to be the most important word: DELAY.

Basically, what I heard was: "Ladies and gentleman, for the train on platform 2 to Rotterdam Centraal, Delft, Den Haag HS and Amsterdam Centraal at 9.35am (blank) about 5 minutes.".

So I heard the "5 minutes", I checked the clock, but I guessed she wasn't saying "arriving in 5 minutes" because it was already 9.40am. So I guessed it was late by 5 minutes. But by the time 9.45am came, it still wasn't there, and she was still saying the same thing! So I was just thinking to myself, "Shit shit shit". But outwardly of course I remained cool and calm because I didn't want people to think I was crazy, panicking and hobbling everywhere with unfashionable white Nike shoes.

All of a sudden, the signboards changed, and my 9.35am train became a 9.44am train to Leiden Centraal, although it was already 9.50am. Panic, panic. Finally, a train came, and I hopped on (okay, hopped on as best I could with one lousy ankle). But when I got in, the running signboard text said I was on the wrong train! So I called Schrobbenmaster, and he told me to get off at Rotterdam Centraal.

Stupid trains.

Anyway, to cut it short, I finally boarded the right train. Even changed platform by listening to the announcement (so proud that I understood it). The train was empty so I could stretch my leg out on the ledge under the table. Unfortunately, 3 stops down, three old ladies came onboard to join me. The one who sat next to me very nicely said "Dank je wel" when I moved my bag for her. No one else has ever done that. And the two opposite me just talked nonstop until I got off. Which was irritating, because although I normally like little old ladies, she was preventing me from stretching my leg out.


At Sloterdijk, I hobbled off the train and to the metro. I'm pretty sure the conductor was looking at me weirdly as I passed, but gah, who cares. Struggled up the staircase with the wet railing assisting me (one perk of having a pulsating, painful, swollen ankle is that you don't feel the cold anymore) and waited for the metro to arrive.

Thankfully, Schrobbenmaster had arranged for one of the girls at the office to pick me up from the metro stop so I didn't have to take the 10 to 15 minute walk (on two working feet) to the office. Unfortunately though, she had stopped on the other side of the station, so after hobbling down the stairs and out of the station, after 10 minutes, she called and we realised I had to cross over to the other exit instead. So up the escalator, across the platform and down the stairs once again.

Ended up reaching the office really late, at 11.45am. Everyone was nice though, helping me with an ice pack and lifting my leg up. I think the boss was really anxious that I came late because it's deadline day. But as I sit here writing this at 2.21pm, I have had no work to do for the last 1 1/2 hours. So nothing much to be anxious about in my case, really.

Now I only have to look forward to a long work day, possibly leaving work at 10pm tonight. And then the nice long (slow and painful) trek back to Rotterdam.

(And oh shucks, my left leg is now numb from all the pressure and leaning on it.)

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