WARNING: If you’re here because of the contest (WHICH HAS NOW ENDED. I’ll be seeing you in September, Oregon!) for which state I’ll sign in later this summer, you can skip through all the boring stuff and scroll directly to the bottom of this post. Otherwise, get your pillow and keep reading because you might fall asleep.
My trip North.
When I found out I bought my return flight from Boston for the same time I was flying to New York, I had a really bad feeling about this trip. I figured the whole thing would somehow turn to shit.
It was actually quite the opposite. It was incredible! Other than a few minor mishaps and embarrassments. The first being an incident that happened right when we got to our hotel in NYC.
I brought my friend Joel along and we had rooms that had a connecting living room. The kicker was, my room could only be accessed with a room key and I locked my room key in my room not five minutes after we got there. I called the front desk and they said they would send security up.
So I sat on the couch in the living room and Joel was in his bedroom with the door open, talking to me. We were excited about getting to ride the Amtrak the next day because neither of us have ever been on a train before. Joel said he was excited about riding the train and he sounded like a little kid when he said it, so I started making fun of him. I was sitting on the couch which is near the doorway and I was yelling, “I gone wide da twain tomowow! I so excited I gone wide da TWAAAAIN!!!”
I looked up and the security guy was standing in the doorway staring at me. It occurred to me that he couldn’t see Joel, so it appeared as though I was sitting on the couch in a hotel room all alone yelling, “I gone wide da twaaaaiiiinn tomowow!!!! I SOOOO EXCITED!!!!”
Yeah. That was embarrassing.
So when we actually DID get to Penn station the next day, we were very excited, despite the scary-sized crowd. We had NO clue what we were doing. We didn’t know where to go or where to check bags or where the security line was (apparently train stations aren’t like airports. You don’t check bags or go through security) so we went to the information desk and stood in a long line. We were then directed to the ticket booth because we wanted to switch times on our tickets, so we stood in another long line. Once we got to the window the lady looked at our tickets and said, “For future reference, when you ride first class you don’t have to stand in line. You go to the first class lounge.”
We were like, “Whaaat? We get to go to a LOUNGE?” So she switched our times and directed us to the lounge. When we were buzzed through the door, I swear I heard angels singing. I saw the most beautiful site.
A diet-pepsi fountain machine with FREE diet pepsi. Yeah. I know.
So we walk up to the counter and hand the nice lady our tickets and she says, “Welcome to the first class lounge, where world peace is reality and all your most lavish dreams come true.”
Well, she didn’t say it like that per say, but it seemed like that. She ran our tickets and looked at the three huge pieces of luggage filled with heavy books that we had been dragging behind us, then looked back at me and asked, “Would you like a red cap?” I, being the inexperienced traveler that I am, had no idea what a red cap was. Not wanting to look stupid, I turned to Joel and said, “I don’t know. Do you think we should get a red cap, Joel?”
I was hoping that would have helped, but I could see on Joel’s face that he didn’t know what a red cap was, either. So he said, “Nah. I don’t think we need a red cap.”
The lady said, “Are you sure you don’t want a red cap?”
I nodded. “I’m sure. We’re fine. No red cap for us.”
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “Okay, then.” Next, she pointed us to some nice, plush couches and told us to enjoy our wait. So we pulled all of our luggage to the couches and sat down with our free glasses full of diet pepsi. After about ten minutes pass, the lady began calling passengers for the 11:30 train that left before our 12:03 train. At one point she got on the intercom and said, “The red cap has arrived for the 11:30 train. Please come to the desk and your red cap will show you the way to your train.”
So a red cap is a PERSON who HELPS you. And he carries your LUGGAGE. And he wears a RED CAP!
Joel and I immediately perk up. Joel looks at me and says, “I think we need a red cap, Colleen!” I look at him and say, “Well, by golly I think you’re right, Joel.” And so I rush to the desk and smile at the nice lady and say, “We’ve changed our minds. We do want a red cap.” So she writes our names down and says, “I’ll call you when your red cap arrives.”
So we wait some more. A few minutes later she calls our name, so we gather all of our luggage and bring it to the counter. I watch as another couple follows their red cap out the door, so we stand there and wait for our red cap to come so he can show us the way to our train.
And we wait.
And we wait some more.
It’s 11:50 at this point and our train leaves at 12:03, so I go to the nice lady and say, “Shouldn’t we already be on the train by now?”
She looks at me in horror and yells, “YOU DIDN’T GO WITH YOUR RED CAP?”
I say, “We didn’t see our red cap.”
She says, “There’s only one red cap per group! You were supposed to follow the red cap!” She rolls her eyes and says, “I’ll call you another one.”
And I know in her head she’s thinking, “Good, Lord. These idiots should have stuck to coach.”
So she calls a red cap and we wait and wait and wait some more, but no one ever comes and her line is too long for her to notice we’re still standing there. It’s 11:57 and we have six minutes before our train leaves, so Joel and I decide to abandon our wait for the red cap and drag our luggage across Penn Station without a clue as to where we’re supposed to go. He somehow figures it out and we make it to the train right before the doors close, so all ended well. But for future reference, yes. If someone offers you a red cap you should take it. And you should follow him.
And on a side-note, the train was amazing. It went 150 miles per hour at one point and the ride through Connecticut was beautiful. Here’s a pic.
THEN there’s Boston. Oh, my word. That was the experience of a lifetime. I can’t thank everyone enough for coming out, standing in line for hours and being so gracious about it. Here’s a few pics and a video from the event.
I’d say the signing was so successful and so much fun, that I want to set up some more! As it stands now, I’ll be in L.A. April 6th, RT in May, Orlando in June, San Francisco in June, Seattle in September, Austin in October and *hopefully* London in November. But I’m thinking I might can fit another signing in somewhere in August or September. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make the Vegas signing in August.
This is where you guys come in! I had a little Twitter competition a few months back where the state that retweeted the most would get a signing, and that ended up being the September signing in Seattle, WA. So I’m going to leave a signing location up to y’all. I will come to any state, as long as it’s not one of the ones I’m already scheduled for this year which are California, Missouri, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts and Texas. Just vote in the poll and add your state if it isn’t listed. The poll is open for 24 hours and the winning state will…well… it will WIN!
CONTEST ENDED. OREGON KICKED BUTT!