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Thursday, April 17, 2008

The one that pays for all...

I promise this will be my last Caltrain story for a while, and the one that pays for all:

Erin and I were late for our train today. By, oh, 30 seconds. It pulled up as we were still about a football field away, and I still had to buy a ticket on the platform (you must buy a ticket before you get on, no matter how willing you are to pay them directly later). There was no way I was going to make it in time. I would just have to buy a ticket and wait for the next one, in half an hour.

As I was rushing up the platform it looked like it was getting ready to leave on time, and then something changed. The doors opened, and remained open. I was almost in range of the last open door, but I was still a hockey neutral zone away from the ticket dispenser, and I was going to have to get to my wallet (in the backpack today), select my ticket, insert my credit card, and wait for the ticket to print before I could snag that berth.

But there the train sat. It wasn't leaving on time. Like it was waiting for me.

"Oh Backpacking Dad. Don't you just want to sneak through this open door here instead? We're waiting just for you. We saw you hustling up the platform. Don't you want to try to get away with it today?"

No, serpentine train voice in my head. No I don't.

"But you will be late for your daughter's swimming lesson. And isn't she more important? There's plenty of room, and no one will question YOU. You have the magic, distracting Baby of Cuteness."

Screw off, train voice. You're making me feel guilty.

I thought about doing it. I stepped slightly to my left, toward the open door, and then I reconsidered and made a bee-line for the ticket dispenser, resigned to missing this train but retaining my moral authority.

Just as I made that decision I found out why the train was lagging a little bit. A Conductor-Type ejected a 20-something slacker who kept protesting that he had a ticket (for the wrong zone, or wrong day, or one way from earlier or something), to no avail. Dude was booted, and the train left just as I got to the ticket dispenser.

Today, they were checking tickets. And today I didn't give in.

I win, Universe. And you can go to hell, creepy train voice.


Patti Mayo said... are a good man...and better are a good 13 years when Baby of Cuteness is 14 or so...she'll be reading your blog going "my dad made a good decision"....

either that or " should have tried it"....

(since I'm a responsible mom and my kids can already read...i'm going with you made a good decision)

for a different kind of girl said...


The next time the creepy train voice comes back - and you KNOW it will - roundhouse kick it. So totally bad ass

Mandy said...

Dude, I've so been waiting for you to not buy a ticket and to get kicked off that train. There is no poetic justice in the world anymore.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Trains have creepy voices? Yet another reason to add to the list of why I don't love trains.

Now...add a car full of spiders to that creepy train voice and I'm outta here!!


(great blog, btw!)

MereCat said...

Whew. Glad you took the high road. Those transportation police are hell.

THopgood said...

Come a little...try it once...see what happens! If nothing else, it'll make for an interesting blog post!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

We don't have this kind of anxiety in San Diego. We've avoided by having virtually no public transportation whatsoever!

Heather J. said...

Of the 100's of times I've ridden Caltrain, they've checked for tickets...every single time!

I am a wimp, even if they always failed to check, I would have always bought one. I am too scared of the what if's.

Mumma Boo said...

Oh the temptation! Erin is very lucky to have a dad like you as a role model. Why give in and risk tarnishing the powers of the magic, distracting Baby of Cuteness?

Jennifer said...

Backpacking Dad: 1, Creepy Train Voice: 0!

That would have totally been my luck too- break a rule for once, and get caught :P Way to ignore the temptation!

chicago pop said...

See, if you had been in Chicago, the train voice would have conveyed the following:

"We're not moving, and have no electricity. Please remain in the car, do not descend into the tunnel in an attempt to escape to the street above, even if you see smoke."

mommastantrum said...

I am so glad that I didn't have to hear on the nightly news that Backpacking Dad was arrested with a baby on his back for not buying a train ticket.

I hate trains. (Probably because Toddler is OBSESSED.) So I am glad to know that they have creepy voices.

I don't feel guilty anymore for hating those things. Especially that blue one named Thomas - that isn't cheeky, he's a downright jerk!!

Whit said...

That's right. Creepy Train Voice can suck it!

Amanda said...

Take that creepy train voice.

Tracey said...

Excellent choice. I wouldn't have been able to do it, either. I don't get a thrill from breaking rules and stealing, no matter if it's 25 cents or $25. And your kids are TOTALLY paying attention.

My_Dog_Is_Better said...

Is Thomas the Train really a jerk? I'd like to know this for my future child-rearing decisions.

And if so, is his jerk-ness any worse than Spongebob Squarepants getting drunk off pineapple juice?

Backpacking Dad said...

My goodness there are a lot of you out there. I've been lax in responding because I've been busy having an awesome weekend.

Patti: I hope she doesn't read my blog and think I'm lame. That would kill me. If she's going to think I'm lame I'd hope that she forms that opinion after living with me; I don't want it to be a surprise :}

FADKOG: I will take some Motherbumper inspiration and Chuck Norris the hell out of it.

Mandy: That's just so evil. How did you sneak into Canada? ;}

Wonderful World of Weiners: Ack to your spiders. And "Hooray Weiner Dogs!" That was the name of my fantasy hockey team this year and they totally kicked ass.

merecat: Was that a joke? :} Are you making fun of my fear of Conductor-Types?

Thopgood: "I'll never join you!"

Jenn: Aw, what are you talking about? You've got that train thing that goes from the 24 Fitness in Mission Valley to Fashion Valley Mall! It goes like, 4 stops! :}

Heather: Remind me not to ride CalTrain with you on the day I decide to cheat.

Mummaboo: Yes, I shouldn't tarnish it. I don't have any more baby polish in my cabinet.

Jennifer: Thanks for keeping score! One less thing for me to do...

Chicago Pop: smoke on a train is only a good sign if you are in the old west.

Mammastantrum: I'll try to make the news for something more embarassing someday. Just for you :}

Whit: Oh yeah! Thanks for the support!

Amanda: Check with Jennifer for any score updates. :}

Tracey: You are so honest that you make me feel guilty for even considering sneaking on board. Thanks, Jimminy!

My_Dog_is_Better: Thankfully, I know nothing about either the Tank Engine or Spongebob. Yet.