Southern Way

Southern Way

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trolley Tables and Time Clocks

Trying to expand my social life down here.OK, trying to establish a social life down here, I was thrilled to be invited by a friend to a Historic Charleston Foundation Event held last evening. As is my policy (and angst) I did not want to be late so I arranged to leave work so I could run home, take care of the pups, change clothes, and make it to the Church (literally) on time.

In doing some research I found that the downtown trolley that runs every 10-15 minutes leaves from a stop just 7-8 blocks from my place. I could catch it and it would take me within 2 blocks of where I needed to go on Church Street. Best of all it was free. Looking at the schedule I figured out which one I would need to catch to make it on time.

Sitting in my office I was engrossed with one thing and another when my co-worker said, "Shouldn't you be leaving, I thought you wanted to leave early?"

I looked at the clock and it was 20 'til. Geez, I thought, how did the time slip by? Now I only had 30 minutes to get home, take care of the pups, change clothes and make it to the Visitor's Center on time where I could catch the trolley. I gathered my things and left.

When I got home, the pups were none too happy to learn that there leisurely 25 minute walk was going to be a quick 5 minute trip down the sidewalk and back. Also, the afternoon had turned rather warm so I needed to dress in something cool since I would be outside some of the time. Somehow, not in a very calm fashion, I managed to get everything done and get out of the house in time to make it to the Visitors Center before the Trolley came. Given the warmth of the afternoon, I was glistening by the time I got there. (Down here, ladies do not sweat, we "glisten".)

While standing at the trolley stop, I was studying the large map and time chart posted to see, first, if I had all my information correct, and second, to see where else the trolley went that would be helpful to me. A couple of (obvious) tourist walked up, looked at the chart, and asked me, "The green line is the one that goes  downtown, right?" I replied it was. Then the gentleman looked at the chart and said, "So the next trolley will leave at 4:20."

I looked at him, smiled and said, "Don't you mean 5:20 since it is 5;15 now?"

He looked at his watch, "No, it is 4:15."

I looked at my watch, and so it was. I was an hour early. How was that? Thinking back on it, I must have read the clock wrong at work and left at 20 minutes until 4 instead of 20 minutes until 5 as I thought. Now I was at the trolley stop an hour early. What was plan B going to be? Obviously head home for a while and start over. I looked at the chart once more. It was then that I saw a trolley stop for the same line, only a block and a half from my place. Great -not only did I have the wrong time, I was at the wrong place!

So back to my place I went, 7 more blocks in the heat of the late afternoon. By the time I arrived home, I was quite "damp", my hair was a mess, and I was totally frustrated with myself. I sat in front of the AC unit trying to cool off. In 30 minutes or so, I left to walk the short block and a half to the closest trolley stop.

Sitting at the stop I checked Google maps on my phone to find that (once again in their  knowledge of all things) Google was aware that I was at the stop and gave me 3 options to proceed - on foot, by trolley, or by car. When I selected by trolley, the time for the next trolley came on the screen telling me I only had 4 minutes to wait. As I sat there confirming the best stop for me to get off, a bus came and stopped. Several people got on and the bus left.

The trolley was running late. I checked Google maps again and it showed the next trolley would be arriving in 12 minutes  - what happened to the one that was only several minutes away just moments ago? Could that "bus" that just stopped possibility been the trolley? I didn't think so. Every trolley I had ever seen on the route  "looked like" a trolley. Checking the time charts I now saw I was going to be cutting it very close with my arrival time by taking this later departure.  Super, I had initially arrived an hour early, now I was running 15 minutes late.  That is talent - on loan from God!

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