, Newburyport, MA


October 27, 2010

The Mother Load: For me, travel really is a laughing matter

The man behind the Amtrak ticket counter is looking at me oddly.

My train for New York leaves South Station in 10 minutes, and the automated kiosk has refused to cough up my ticket. The man behind the counter, however, seems to have identified the problem.

"You already took this trip to New York," he tells me. "You left yesterday."

I pause to consider this information. Granted, my memory is not what it used to be, but I feel certain that this trip would have stuck in my mind.

"See, it's right here," he points at his computer screen, which, of course, I can't see at all. "You're due to return here to Boston at 5 p.m. today."

I glance around the room just to be certain, but all signs indicate that right now I am, in fact, in Boston. Especially the big sign that says "Boston — South Station."

I'm just about to point this out when the man says, "Wait a minute — I think I've found the problem. You didn't take that trip."

I breathe a sigh of relief. Even though it looks a lot like Boston, I was beginning to think I was in the Twilight Zone.

As it turns out, the ticketing problem was my mistake. Using my sophisticated calendar-reading skills, I had reserved train tickets for the day before.

"Geez, Amtrak can be so picky about little things like dates," I joked to the man. "I mean, I did get most of the other information right."

"Well, dates are very important ..." the man admonished.

Clearly, it was going to be one of those days when the world did not get my jokes, and perhaps vice versa.

I find many things amusing when I travel. But often I wonder — is it just me? Does anyone else think this is funny?

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