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.

5 Comments:

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 :)
k

6:42 AM  

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