Jun 25 2006

Midnight train to Malmö

As promised…here is the account of last night’s trip home from Laholm.

Because it was a holiday, the trains were running on their usual Sunday schedule…which means we had two options for getting home after Sweden’s World Cup match: 7:15 and 9:15. The soccer game was actually over early enough for us to make the 7:15…except that my Mother-in-Law had had two glasses of wine with whatever you’d call the meal we ate around 2:45 p.m. (too late for lunch, too early for dinner) and therefore wouldn’t drive us to the station.  (Sweden’s legal limit for BAC is .02 and getting caught exceeded it can mean loss of your license.)  In hindsight we probably should have just paid for a cab.

So we planned on the 9:15 instead. And because of the previously mentioned penalties for being over the BAC limit, we walked to the train station…even though I have a hard time believing that at that point, the wine my MiL had with lots of food almost 5 hours earlier was impairing her driving ability in any way. I know I was stone-cold sober by the time we began the hike…and I’d had three glasses.

But it was a lovely evening and I can alway use the exercise, so I was happy to walk it even though I thought my MiL was being a little overzealous in her interpretation of drunk driving. The station is on the outskirts of town and Dr. Darling had never walked it from her mother’s place before, so she could only make a rough estimate for how long it was going to take. Because we were shooting for the LAST train of the evening, we couldn’t afford to miss it. So we started out earlier rather than later…and after walking for a little over an hour, we got there a full 30 minutes before the train was supposed to leave.  Note the use of the word “supposed.”

The train, which was coming from Gothenburg, was running 45 minutes late. Now had we’d been driven to the station at 9 p.m. (more than 6 hours after the two glasses of wine with dinner), my MiL could have taken us back to her place (just over five minutes away by car) to wait out the delay.  Instead, we got to sit at the Laholm train station out in the middle of no-where for an hour and 15 minutes.

At least there were a few other poor souls there to share our misery…including a woman who had very fortuitously brought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and a bottle of Cinzano with her.  (On second thought, she wasn’t half as miserable as the rest of us.)  We met a very nice guy named Johan who had misjudged the train schedule because of the holiday and had already been waiting for an hour by the time we got there. He was remarkably good-natured about having to waste his entire Midsommar evening at the Laholm train station, and not surprisingly , given that he was both Swedish and worked in IT, he defended what I was now characterizing as hyper-paranoia on the part of my MiL.

The train finally arrived at 10:02 p.m., so 2 hours and 17 minutes after we’d left my MiL’s apartment (did I mention that she lives just over 5 minutes away by car?), we were finally on our way back to Malmö.  The trip went really fast from that point on, partly because the engineer was trying to make up the lost time, and partly because we had such a good chat with Johan during the ride. It’s hard to be angry around someone with such a sunny attitude…even though I had been giving it my best shot.

Feed my ego!

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