Wet Shoes (DOG EAR)

Wet Shoes (DOG EAR)

verybody thinks that writing is about sitting behind a huge desk with a scholarly air, sliding paper into a typewriter and rattling off clever prose.

I’ve said this before. And I’ve told you it isn’t.

Another story of wretched writing!

So we had a model train operation session at the club the other night. I mentioned this on the train blog HERE, but really, it comes down to me to get everything ready, from cleaning track to setting up the dispatcher computer to getting jobs finalized. It was raining so our attendance was down, and we were packed with guests, which meant I had to make sure all the visitors got to ride with a crewmember. Then I had to introduce myself to my own guest conductor (and promptly forget his name since I’m an idiot). We had to get our paperwork, lash on the units to the cars on Martin 1, clear it with the yardmaster, then find out the phone system to the dispatcher was dead. And finally we got to run trains. Very, very busy.

So in the end, I was very, very tired.

As usual, I’m the last guy out. Pulled the car out onto the culvert driveway where the gate is. Got out in the driving rain (Don swung his car around to provide illumination) and found out that whoever took the lock off the gate had relocked it, some I’m having to enter that itty-bitty code in bad lighting. While I’m doing this, with water trickling down my collar and chilling my back, I’m reminding myself that I’ll need to blog the session when I get home. It’s what I do. I always blog sessions.

So let’s see. Something about the startup confusion. Maybe I could tell about running with my guest, of letting him work the switchlist while I spotted the cars. Or putting the Kid on the dispatcher panel regardless of the public outcry and watching it work out (well, outside of that one head on collision, and the death toll wasn’t that bad). And maybe even touch on the satisfaction of working with the night owls who see the session through and help shut it down…

Okay, so the lock was on, I tossed a wave and Don drove off. Got back into my car and settled in. I could pull out onto Old Cheney Highway soon as this last car got by. It was an SUV, coming out of the east, signaling a left turn onto Sherman street, about ten feet past our entrance.

Then, to my surprise, they turned sharp across my nose, drove right past me and dropped into the deep ditch next to our driveway.

Drive on, my little voice said. Not your problem. You still need to blog before you slip into that warm bed.


Got out and climbed down into that wet ditch and tapped on the glass. Turns out it was two girls, God knows how young (everyone looks young these days). They’d been driving along trying to figure out how to defrost their windows (yeah, that young), seen me, assumed I was on the cross street (and not the driveway ten feet short of it) and turned in. So now they’re nose down in a ditch. And it’s raining. And dark. And kinda cold. And I can’t just leave.

So I stay. There was an attempt or two to push them out (failed miserably). While walking around the car, I managed to step into a deep pothole and filled my shoe with cold water. Great. One of them finally gets out her AAA card and calls. Thankfully, before we had to go through the long wait for the wrecker, a guy with a big meaty truck stopped and offered to pull us out. And regardless of what I usually think about people around that place, it was a lifesaver gesture. He clipped on his cable, the girls got their car into four-wheel drive, and it popped out of that ditch like a cork out of bottle of celebratory champagne.

Ten minutes later I’m on the 408, heater going full out, my glasses beaded with water, my hair matted.

So let’s see. Something about the confusion. And some of the turnout problems. And the effort to overcome things and make the session happen…

Yeah, regardless of being wet and tired and cold, I’ve got a blog to write. I’m a writer. It’s what we do.

Because I’m a gentleman and I wait with stranded females. And I’m a writer and I’m an idiot.


P.S. I’ll mention that the next day, my Indian female coworker (and part-time nemesis) called over the pod and laughingly commented on one of my blogs. Yes, a reader. So all that, it was all worth it. And if you are a writer, you’ll understand.