There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spousal abuse

I got up this morning at 5:45 a.m., took a shower and got dressed. I then checked the web site I'm responsible for maintaining. Still dead. It had been more than 12 hours since workers performing an unannounced upgrade of my server had stepped on, first, the mail server and then the web server configuration files. The system admins for the owner of the dedicated server we rent were able to restore the mail server. When I went to bed last night, they promised the webserver would be fixed real soon now.

So I called the company at 6 a.m. and talked with technical support. The call dragged on and on. At 6:36 a.m. I was again assured that system admins were working on the issue and would have a resolution shortly. I hung up the phone.

And then I realized that I had missed my bus.

If I'm to catch the 7:40 a.m. Amtrak train to Oakland, I need to be outside my house at the bus stop at 6:28 a.m. The bus is never early, and it is never more than a minute or two late. I'm only two stops from the start of the route.

My only choice? Spousal abuse.

I woke the wife and told her I missed my bus and needed a ride to the Amtrak station.

"Now?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

She got out of bed and started dressing.

"When does the train leave?" she asked.

"7:40," I said.

"What time is it now?" she asked.

"6:38," I said.

"Why do we have to go now?" she asked.

It was at this point that I realized just how disoriented I was by the change in my morning ritual. As I stood in the dark bedroom as my wife continued to get dressed, it took a couple of moments before I could sort out my situation. Finally, I told the wife she could go back to bed and I would wake her at 7 a.m.

I'm writing this from the train. When I arrived at the Amtrak station, the train was already boarding. Just after I stepped aboard, the doors closed and the train started to roll out of the station. The entire traffic-clogged drive from my home to the station had been one long, nail-biting affair as I watched the minutes tick on the car's clock.

Relying on the Sacramento Regional Transit bus driver to pick me up and drop me off in time for another bus driver to pick me up and drop me off at the Amtrak station is much less painful, even if it does take half-hour longer than driving in rushhour traffic.

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