Grumbly post. If you don’t feel like it, move on, I’ll understand.
Actually, it all started with me not getting out of bed when my alarm clock rang at 6am. I must say I have quite a track-record since my early teens of hearing the alarm ring, turning it off, and putting my head back on the pillow (late mornings at school, missed appointments, skipped showers and breakfast, etc.)
I woke up with a start at half past seven, knowing instantly that I had overslept, but not sure by how long. I checked the time, cursed, realised it wasn’t quite so late that nothing could be done about it, cursed again, and jumped into some clothes. I had planned on taking the 6:53 bus just up the road.
Seven minutes later (I can be quick in the morning) I was heading for my car (putting it to good use before I lose my license for a month and sell it) and calling the only contact number I had to try to inform my client I would be late and ask for a few directions. (Because, yes, in addition to me not waking up, I noticed by chance while printing out e-mails during those seven minutes that the location for the class I was supposed to give had been changed — so I had to hunt it down on Google maps before I left, and I didn’t even have the complete address, just the street.) (Yes, I like brackets. I digress when I tell stories.)
That split-second decision to take my car is proof of both my very poor judgment when I’ve been awake for just a few minutes and my total lack of familiarity with rush-hour in Geneva. My class was at 8:30, and forty-five minutes to get to Geneva sounded a bit tight (I’d be 10-15 minutes late, I estimated), but more feasible by car than by train, when I have to count roughly 30 minutes to get down to the station by public transport.
Well. Getting down to the motorway was a pain. The motorway itself came to a standstill at least half a dozen times between Lausanne and Geneva. To make things worse, remember that one and only contact number I tried to call as soon as I got out of the house? Well, answering machine. Left a message. Tried calling back every ten minutes. Answering machine again. And again. At 8:30, I was finally called back. At that point, I was stuck in a long queue at the Genève-Lac exit, trying to get off the motorway. I apologised for being late, asked for directions, and told them where I was.
A few minutes later — and maybe 40 meters further down the line — they called back to cancel the session, because I was too late and they couldn’t keep the people waiting.
So here I was, nearly in Geneva, stuck in the traffic, unshowered and unbreakfasted, for a cancelled engagement. Not happy.
Luckily, I managed to drag David out of his office a bit earlier than planned. Had a chat and a nice hot Ovo, so my trip to Geneva didn’t end up being completely pointless.
During the time it took me to get off the motorway, into down, and finally park my car at the station (let’s say it took me 40 minutes, almost as long as driving to Geneva itself), I had ample chance to reflect on how poor my decision to take my car had been. This was my first time in Geneva rush hour, and honestly, I’d heard it was bad, but I had no idea.
I would have been really better off taking a taxi to the station in Lausanne, the next train, and then another taxi from Geneva station to my destination. Unfortunately, I still have this Lausanne outskirts misconception that the car is usually the quickest means of transport available.
To be fair, I understand why my client cancelled. They had certainly figured out how much time it would take me to reach them from where I was, and honestly, there was nowhere I could make it under an hour. Where I’m a bit more grumpy, though, is that I didn’t have a phone number where I could reach somebody before the class was due to start. Had I been able to reach them when I first tried to call, we might have realised I wouldn’t be able to make it on time before I left Lausanne.
So, two lessons learnt:
- make sure I have the cellphone number of somebody who is reachable from roughly an hour before I’m due
- don’t accept engagements in Geneva during the first half or morning — I’d been hesitant to accept that one to start with because of the time.
My plans for this afternoon included things like cleaning the car so it’s ready to be sold and drilling more holes in the kitchen walls. Maybe I’d be wise to postpone and watch TV instead.