A pre-Christmas family visit in California included whale watch around the bleak and craggy Channel Islands with our daughter. Then we boarded the train for San Diego to see our granddaughter. Shortly before the Anaheim stop, an announcement blared forth from the loudspeaker urging all passengers to dispose of our trash.
My husband, a crossword puzzle fanatic, had bought the Sunday Los Angeles times to solve during the train ride. Since we had no interest in the local news, ads, or coupons, I looked for a container where I could dispose of these newspaper sections. I saw none.
So when the train stopped in Anaheim, I asked the conductor, “Where can I dump these papers?”
He pointed to the railroad station below us. “Right in that barrel at the foot of the ramp.”
“Is there time?” I asked.
“Sure.” He turned to help an elderly lady board the train.
As I descended the ramp with the newspaper, I looked up just in time to watch the train pull away. I realized I’d left my purse on the seat next to my husband. Still, I had brought the cell phone. It’s comforting bulge in my pocket told me I was not alone.
Irate at being abandoned, I told the ticket sellers in the station what had happened. Bored, they searched their records and found that we had actually bought our tickets two hours earlier in Oxnard.
I thought about going for a walk, but felt a chill in the air and I’d left my sweater on the train. I called my granddaughter and sat down to wait for the next train.
What a nuisance. Still, I was fortunate. My husband had just sped by on one train, and our grandchild would meet me on the next one. It could be a lot worse. I was stranded only temporarily.
Have you ever been stranded with no money or ID?