…so it makes complete sense that when life throws me a curve ball, I strike out. I mean for crying out loud… I can barely hit the darn thing straight… so why, God, do you love curve balls so much? Ever stop to think that not *everyone* was created with the amazing baseball skills that YOU have, God? Hmmmmm?
Needless to say, this weekend was full of curve balls. Friday night, I was finally presented with an opportunity to leave my house after dinnertime to go out and be with friends. This rare occurrence was one that I was even slightly looking forward to. However, the second I got off the phone with said friend, my phone rang again… some 800 number. I thought to myself, “This could just be another politician’s voicemail calling me. I don’t need to listen to it.” But almost as though I lost control of my thumb, I hit the button on my phone to take the call. An extremely automated voice reported to me:
This message is regarding your train scheduled to leave Glenview, Illinois, at 2:35 PM, on Sunday, January 10, 2010, and arriving in St. Cloud, Minnesota, at 12:35 AM, on Monday, January 11, 2010. Your trip has been canceled due to weather. Please contact customer service for further assistance with your travel options. We apologize for the inconvenience, and look forward to doing business with you in the future.
WHAT!!!!!!! I pressed the appropriate button to replay the message, just in case my ears were deceiving me. Perhaps they made a mistake. Perhaps they meant to say, “Why Sara, you have been such a good girl this year that we have upgraded your ticket to first class and given you a 75% discount on it. You are an angel and we wish you glad tidings on your final semester at school.”
Nope. They were definitely right the first time. In a panic, I called customer service. At first I was very snooty with him, raising my voice, obviously ticked off and on the verge of tears. How the sweet baby Jesus was I going to get back to school now? The guy at the other end of the line simply told me there were no other options but refunding my ticket. At that moment I remembered that this young man was not responsible for canceling my train, so he didn’t deserve for me to be mad at him, so I apologized and thanked him kindly for his help and said good night. Of course when I hung up I shouted all sorts of obscenities at that stupid phone. Somehow it felt better to yell at the phone.
Of course I can’t afford anything at all. Winter break was the first time in my entire college career where I have ever had to ask for help coming home. I probably would have stayed up on campus if it weren’t for my parents’ willingness to help me out in my time of need. I felt awful having to explain the situation to them again… especially considering the only acceptable option to them was flying, since they would not let me drive back with a person I have driven home with in the past… and rightly so, he’s a psycho driver… but I’d rather almost die for 7 hours cheaply than have to buy a plane ticket this late in the game. Luckily, I found a student discount ticket that was about $100 cheaper than any other booking service, and my parents were willing to pay for it. They were even willing to pay for my checked luggage (even if it goes over the 50 pound limit… which it very well might… because I packed that baby in pretty good… as trains don’t have weight limits).
I had a hard time dealing with this particular curve ball because it forced me to humbly ask for help again. I’m not good at that. I would much prefer paying for my own travel expenses and my own food and my own bills. I do not like asking for help. I always try to find the cheapest option. Heck, I took the train in the first place because it was cheaper to do that than pay for the plane ticket plus checked luggage fees plus potential Executive Express fees. I put a lot of thought and counted a lot of fingers and toes when I decided to take the train. I treat my parent’s money as if it were my money. I hate asking for help. I’m 21-years-old. I’m not 18. I should have this routine down by now. But financial curve balls came up this year, and now the train curve ball, and my poor wallet couldn’t handle the added pressure. I had to suck it up and ask for help.
I wonder why it’s so hard to ask for help sometimes. If it was this hard now… I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like this summer when I move back for good. Yikes.
I was actually going to write something of more substance but then I looked at the clock and realized… oh crap… I have an hour left to pack and take a shower. I should get on that.