Thursday, January 28, 2010


The kids headed out to school this morning, one by bike and one on foot, with stop #1 being the Metro bus at the bottom of our street. From there they go to the Metro and on to Vienna. The last step is catching the school’s bus that runs them from the metro station to the school’s front door. It was at the ultimate step that some confusion rained down; the two got separated at the end and L. wasn’t sure where the bus picked up the kids. She gave me a quick call and eventually made it to the bus safely but this is more a story about me than about her (or them).

There’s a small bus circuit the runs around Fairfax City (The CUE bus) and it’ll take you from the Metro to the school’s driveway; as long as you know its schedule and map. What I’d forgotten to do – unbelievably – was package up my normal, and overly detailed, guide material containing the bus map, time tables, a map of the bus shelter parking lot, and spare change for L. before the first day of school. (Yes, each item is highlighted and annotated.) X can vouch for my over-planning when it comes to journeys; but it’s good over-planning. The best example was when we met in Barcelona for a week and I showed up with a selection of restaurants, city maps, transit maps, country maps, transit maps, and other assorted items. One impressive bit – if I do say so myself – was our regional train ride from Barcelona to La Garriga for our night at Termes spa. We were catching our train from Placa Catalunya to La Garriga and I’d mapped out the line and times for departure…in laminated form. The stations in Spain – as with most of Europe – don’t necessarily have loads of English instructions laying about the place so you use your experience and trust the timetables even if you’re not sure what the train, or the announcements, say. Our train was leaving from track Red 3 at 3:41pm and arriving in La Garriga about 40 minutes later. We got to the track about five minutes early and when a train pulled in at 3:41, we boarded. I still remember us wondering if we’d done the right thing – what if we ended up Lisbon? – but we both knew it’d work out in the end; that's sort of our travel M.O. The next day we reversed the process from the small, single-track station in the country and simply boarded whatever train was passing through at our appointed time.

The reason I haven't told you this before is because it's not really a story.

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