The lucky ones who made it
I don’t wanna start pointing fingers, cuz I only have ten, but lets just
say a comedy of errors, including a few of my own, preceded my mad dash across the
Beijing West train Station Thursday morning.
I wanted to catch the 9:11am express train to Hong Kong, and it was
9:08 as I slid along the slick floor in my dust-lubricated shoes. As I
spun into Hall No. 4, I saw the gate attendants locking the doors as I ran
towards them. Not one to be accused of being shy, I started screaming
obscenities before they even found the chain, but none of my pleadings
stopped the ‘clink’ of the lock before I reached the threshold.
Seeing my train still at the platform, I hit the doors at full speed,
hoping my velocity would tear the Chinese construction out at the hinges.
Unfortunately, they were German doors, and held fast against my repeated
attacks. The staff, trying to tell me I was too late while I could still
see the train, learned a few new words. I explained, in perfect detail at
maximum volume, exactly how I was about to violate their every orifice
with all manner of pointed objects in my possession, but to no avail. The
doors remained locked.
Dreaming of Russia, where no one cares until the train is rolling, I
ran to the next platform entrance, Chinese spilling out of my way as I
lunged through those two guards. Diving down the stairs, not really
looking past the next step, I arrived in time to hear the attendant on the
nearest car seal the door. I banged, kicked, screamed, and even pummeled
the door with my suitcase, to express my desire to ride with her to the
beauty that is Hong Kong. In return, she merely pointed to her wrist and
shook her head. Before I could climb through a window and strangle her to
death with my bare hands, the two guards I pushed past caught up with me.
Down we went, in a pile, and I watched my train pull away from the station
as I elbowed one in the head and the other in a kidney (a babushka trick I
Later, after the station police chief yelled at me a bit as I politely
explained where he could shove his lecture, I went to the ticket gate and
learned the Chinese like to add insult to injury. Since I’d missed the
train, I wasn’t gonna get 50% back for the ticket, like I expected. The
whole ticket was void, and I had to shell out another 648 RMB ($76) for
another ticket on the Saturday morning train. So now, instead of four days
relaxing in Hong Kong, I’ll have two days of dashing around for my
Oh, I love China!