Travel Journal: France
Upon arrival at the train station, I sauntered to the ticketing office where I was met by a friendly German who I hoped spoke English and would be able to secure the reservations that I needed. “Euh...Good morning! Do you speak English?” I asked. It seemed that the gentleman used two seconds before speaking to toy with me—he didn't answer directly. Instead, he paused and shot me a quizzical look before responding, “Well, yes. I can.”
It turned out that this practical joker was a friendly fellow who was very good at his job. He was able to reserve group seats at reasonable prices for each of our future trips.
Relieved and a tad proud of myself for achieving the task, I collected the printed seat reservations and began walking to the exit. Before I reached the door, I figured that I should put the reservations somewhere safe instead of carrying them in my hand. This meant that I had to stop, open my backpack, find my binder, and place the reservations inside. This only took about 30 seconds to do. But in that short time, Bus 21 departed toward Strasbourg, leaving me behind.
I wasn't thinking clearly. Instead of remaining calm, I panicked.
If I'd been thinking clearly, I wouldn't have sprinted in the direction of the moving bus. If I would've remained calm, I wouldn't have banged on the fiberglass door of the moving bus to demand that the driver let me on. Had I been calm, I wouldn't have gotten angry with him.
But yet again, I panicked and sprinted in hopes of beating the bus to its next stop. I ran across the bridge, past bikers and skaters, intent on getting on the bus—THAT bus—right then. When I saw that the bus had been slowed down by traffic lights and other vehicles, I knew that I'd be able to beat the driver to his next stop.
Then, panting and sweating on the far side of a German bridge, I asked myself, “Do you even know where the next bus stop is?” I gave myself an honest answer—“I have no clue.”
Less than 30 seconds after this internal gut-check, Bus 21 whizzed by my head with the driver chuckling as he passed me. There I was: a bus-less, angry, and sweaty young man that was one mile from the Bus Station and, quite possibly, further from the next roadside bus stop.
At that point, my cognitive processes reasserted their dominance. I began thinking clearly. I was sweaty, angry, cold, and bus-less, but I was calm. I resolved to walk back to the Kehl Bus Station. This would be best.
This walk was a peaceful one. I acknowledged my wrongdoing. I understood that I shouldn't have run after the bus. Bus 21 is frequent and reliable and I wasn't in a rush to get anywhere as my class was not until the afternoon. I certainly shouldn't have gotten angry; the bus driver was simply following procedure. As I walked, another Bus 21 passed by. I took this as a sort of mythological sign. If there was a lesson to learn in this ordeal, I had learned it.
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