D�rive

The alarm clock sounds, the dreams struggle to accommodate the interruption, the subconscious working overtime to re-write the script to include some transit noises or alarm bells and fool myself into ignoring the digital bleat. It doesn't work, I open my eyes. Where am I? A living room. Why am I sleeping in my living room, is somebody in my bed? No, it's not my living room. The windows are too big, and leafy trees rustle outside. The hated alarm is only used when absolutely necessary, it can only mean one thing: there is some transit to catch. Quick, look out the window. It's Berlin. Clothes are already laid out and bags were never unpacked, wallet and train ticket already placed in pocket. Walk out the door and make a decisive error. After five minutes I check the gps, oops, walked away from Ostbanhof, not towards it. The next eight minutes are spent sprinting at the fastest a man can run dragging 40kilograms of wheeled luggage. Lungs screaming for air, sweat pooling under armpits. I watch the train leaving the station and pause for a moment, hyperventilating. In the Bahn office a stern german matron prints out an itinerary of interconnecting local trains, a hieroglyph instruction on how to get to my destination in Poland by six trains instead of one. There isn't even time to buy tickets, must sprint for the first train and spend the next few hours dodging the ticket inspector. Each leg of the journey brings a new surprises. The first two stations in the German hinterland, standing alone in the middle of breezy fields next to a single set of rails. Later arriving in Poland. Oops, here they don't use the euro, I don't have tickets, food, or water and still got four trains and eight hours left. The trains don't leave at the time indicated on the german timetable, nor on the tracks indicated on the Polish posted timetables. I wave my intended destination in the face of the one or two lonely Poles to be found in a series of ruined WWII-era brick stations with impronuncable names like Krzyz. Am now barreling through the Polish countryside in an empty wagon finished entirely in late-50's synthetic wood paneling, sitting on a hard plastic seat painted a lurid red. Mid-century dentists office meets McDonalds. This train left from the wrong track at the wrong time, but someone insisted I board. Anyways, it was the only train, and it feels better to be in motion.