Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Lost in a kilt

Last November 1st, after a Halloween night spent tossing Fun-Size candybars to the ravenous hordes of kids who descended upon our house of horrors, I had to take an early train from Baltimore to New York. My ten-minute walk to the Amtrak station passes by one of the stops for the Baltimore Light Rail; I saw a twenty-something-ish man get off, who clearly had had a wild night.

He was barechested, had large blue stripes painted on his face, and he was wearing a kilt.

He was walking in vaguely the same direction as I was, but didn't look like he knew where he was going. At a street corner, he caught up with me.

"Do you know where the Red Line is? I need to get to Union Station." At the moment he asked, my brain seized only on the first part of his question.

Baltimore does indeed have a subway of sorts, although I have never ridden it, or even seen it. I know that there is a stop vaguely near my house ... somewhere over ... there, I think. I've seen signs pointing the way to the stop. The symbol for the subway has some red in it, I think. That must have been what he was looking for.

Luckily for him, having only the barest shred of a clue has never stopped me from wanting to play Answer Man.

"It's somewhere over ... there, I think." What my early-morning-sluggish brain hadn't gotten to was the fact that I didn't think the subway connected to the station, which was looming up before us only a few hundred yards away. Why, I was walking there myself.

But, he had taken my advice and shambled on his way, looking for the mythical subway station.

It wasn't until I was walking into the train station that my brain defrosted enough to put together a few more facts.

I didn't know what they call the subway here, but I was pretty sure there was only one line. So why call it "the Red Line?"

And the train station in Baltimore is Penn Station, not Union Station.

It struck me: he doesn't know he's in Baltimore. He thinks he's in D.C.!

It was conceivable I guess if he'd been in a distant suburb between D.C. and Baltimore and had been dropped off at the light rail station which had taken him in the wrong, wrong, wrong direction. I hadn't even thought of asking him if he knew what city he was actually in.

I thought for a moment that I should go to try and find him; he wasn't moving fast, that was for sure. But my train was coming; I consoled myself that somebody would certainly end up pointing this still-drunk Braveheart in the right direction, eventually.

I hate when I give bad directions. It hurts the Helper in me.

I'm having that sensation that I'm guessing all bloggers get at some point: blog-a-vu, where I'm convinced that I've blogged this story before. I looked through my (not extensive) archives ; it doesn't look like I have. I live in fear of repeating myself, partly because my father can tell the same story five times to the same person without ever being aware of it.

So, if I have blogged this story before, then my worst fears have been realized. Go me.


Blogger Sherry said...

This is the first time I've heard it. You can't be at the stage where you're repeating stories yet!

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

I have the same fear. Although I'm kinda hoping it happens, because then I can examine both stories and see if I have a different spin on the incident months later.

4:27 AM  
Blogger David said...

He's so afraid of repeating the stories he tells me that he always begins each one with, "I told you that . . ." implying that he is going to tell me something again, except he never told me the first time.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Hanuman1960 said...

Rest assured Crumblord, this is a new one!

I would certainly have remembered a half naked young man in a kilt!

6:01 AM  
Blogger Knottyboy said...

I wore a kilt this November and the only thing they wanted to know was if I was naked up under there. You know Jim and the twins free balling it under the finely pressed pleats. Such trash my friends. I wouldn't trade them for the world :)

6:42 AM  

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