t’s wonderful to be really good at something. You scrape along the bottom edge of perfect. And Saturday’s run across the Florida East Coast was pretty much there.
We’ve got a good crew. The owner is dispatching. Everyone has good jobs. And there aren’t newbies wandering about asking about where Palm Bay or the bathrooms are. We’ve all run this dozens (if not a hundred) times.
I’ve already run 920 that day, a turn up from Miami that made stops in Palm Bay, Melbourne and a bit further north before turning around and running back. Interacted with a lot of trains and spotted a lot of cars, even taking the trouble to make sure the boxcar doors are lined up on the industry docks. Yeah, we’re running fine today.
Next train out is 945, pretty much a cool-down run. Leave Cocoa Yard light. Along the way, fetch out two reefer cars. Run them down to Melbourne City Ice and drop them for cubing. No problem.
So I’m back in Cocoa and done. I clear the throttle. I stretch. I go out on the patio between the sheds and bask in the glorious afternoon. I wander into the dispatcher’s office and watch the trains move across the board. Just standing there watching Ken move a train. He’s clearing a signal for a train coming through Melbourne. I can’t hear watch the crew is saying, but gather than a signal won’t clear. “Okay,” Ken tells him. “I’m going to give you authority to proceed past that signal, watching for other trains and misaligned turnouts.” Then he looks around to me with knowing eyes. “Like Melbourne City Ice.”
Could I have committed the sin of going into an industry and forgetting to realign the turnout for the main line? But my run was perfect. Still, City Ice was a facing point switch – I’d pushed the cars in and would have not necessarily needed to throw the turnout back to continue – that was my high water mark and I was going the other way after I was done. With gathering discomfort, I passed back over to the train room, looking for the guy just out of Melbourne. I asked him and got the confirmation – yes, I’d left City Ice open.
So take a big house painting brush and dip it into the bucket of shame and slop it down my chest. Ugh! I couldn’t believe I’d make a newbie mistake like that. And now my two operator friends (who were standing right there) knew. It was like Sylvester the Cat’s son – “Oh, the shame, Father. The shame!” Shit.
So, what’s that word I’m looking for? What was it?
Hubris. That’s it.