So leaving the UK was a bit of a shitshow, not going to play it up or down. I had a flight to Amsterdam at midday - as I now refuse to book any flights for the cheap 6am take-off because getting to the airport is always the most epic mission of life (or it definitely feels that way at 4am sitting at some train station or attempting to sleep in said shit airport). I thought I was being relatively sensible getting a flight that left at that time and even more sensible for realising that I was north of London already so it was going to be really easy for me to get to the airport from Loughborough. Correct! I found a train that would get me to the airport straight from this nomad uni town halfway between London and Leeds (so easy) and it wasn’t so bad, it left at 6:52am.
No big deal.
Anyhoo, the night before I was going to leave, I called the cab company and pre-ordered a taxi for the next morning at 6:25 (just to give it time) straight from on the front of college in the car park. So I stroll (half roll) down to the car park all sleepy and feeling gross from a mixture of drinking far too much over the course of the previous week (England turned me into a perma-drunk) and sleeping far too little for anyone, let alone someone getting over jetlag. It’s 6:20 and I’m all stoked on my ability to be early these days - things have evidently changed in the past year or so - and then 6:25 rolls around and there’s no cab. Yet. I leave it until 6:32 because I know how shit cab drivers in Loughborough can be, having experienced this first hand on Saturday night when a cab driver picked us up and took us home even though he was already hailed, ordered and late elsewhere.
Anyway, 6:32 and I start getting a little bit worried. I couldn’t go back inside to use Billie’s phone because the entrance halls to college are locked and there’s no door bell and then there was no pay phone around anywhere, that I knew. My Australian phone has long been disconnected as I found out at the beginning of this trip (although it was set up on global roaming for said “emergencies”), my Canadian phone doesn’t even understand the concept of global roaming let alone how to activate it (seriously, it’s a shit brick) andddddddd my laptop was dead out of battery - not that there’d be any free wifi floating around anyway. Who the fuck was going to be cruising around in the pitch black at some midlands university at 6:30am? You’d think someone, at least a security guard or someone going to the gym or some drunk guy fooling around or anyone but nopeeee, not a single person. There might as well have been an effing tumbleweed for how deserted it was.
I walk out to the road because that’s the only thing I can think of doing - maybe the cab was out there or maybe I can hail one from the road. No, no chance. The entrance of the uni I’m at is some piss small one on the stupidest road imaginable that barely any cars drive along to begin with, let alone cabs. Not going to lie, I may or may not have gone into this whirlwind of stress then - not the end of the world but if I didn’t get on this train I would have missed my $100 flight $75 transfer and $50 in accommodation and still would have been locked outside at 6:30am with no way of getting inside. Annoying, yes.
So I do the only logical thing (very illogical) that my brain presents me with, I hail down some car in the pitch black and ask the driver if they can call me a cab. I think I tried to play the stupid stranded Australian tourist card looking for some form of sympathy - but it probably came out that way by default anyway because I was so freaked out that my train was now leaving in 17 minutes and I was stuck on some fucking road in the middle of no where, no where near the train station in some stupid town that doesn’t even have a transport system let alone a public service at that.
The guy looks at me and is all “where are you headed?” and when I told him, he told me he’d just take me there. Super casual. I’m not lying, the thought and then she was sold as a sex slave popped up in my head but I got in the car anyway. I didn’t have much choice at this point, considering this next cab was most likely never going to turn up either. The driver was wearing his security work clothes (far too conveniently trustworthy for an unplanned abduction, after all) and he was drinking a glass of milk. A glass of milk, for god’s sake. I was mildly certain that this guy was not going to rape me. Like I said, illogical thought processes.
But he did take me to the petrol station and bought me food. Why? Not too sure and it was slightly odd, but however odd it was, it definitely almost cost me the trip to Amsterdam. Again. It was actually painful. To have been so lucky to have this guy give me a lift and then just as I’m getting stoked on maybeeeeee, just maybe I’ll get myself to the station in time, we get stuck at the traffic lights they set up at road works. The really really slow ones. There’s this detour around the train station set up and my new found friend turns the wrong way. So we wait for like, no joke, at least 5 minutes at these fucking traffic lights AGAIN just as I’m watching the station, legit, 50 metres away, unreachable, surrounded by hurricane fencing. It’s 6:50am. Fuck my life, like, seriously? And then this friend of mine has no clue about the detour and ends up dropping me on the other side of this park, beyond the train station car park. I don’t even look at my watch because I would have seen the train come or go and there’s people husslin’ at the station, and this driver wants a hug and I’m all freaking out because I’m still like a kilometre from where I need to be, despite my train leaving in 90 seconds. So I run. And my god, ran I did. Considering I do not run and if I do [by some weird stroke of horrible luck], I consider it to be torturous, I don’t even know how I managed to run so fast. Perhaps it wasn’t that fast at all, but in comparison to everything else in those few seconds everything else just felt exceptionally slow, so I was basically off my head running on adrenalin/stress. I felt pretty fucking speedy.
Of course my train was leaving from the platform on the other side so I’m running up the overpass and holy shit the train’s sitting there and I’m shitting my pants and about to die from running so hard but it’s so so close. But seriously, it had never seemed further away. Looking like some manic with a backpack (ie. your standard backpacker, just not one you’d find in Loughborough) I half fall/run down the stairs and get on the train just as the doors are closing.
And then I threw up [in the toilet, of course!]. Guess I did run pretty hard.