This is the story of one of my worst rookie mistakes.
Just yesterday, I set off in the morning (yes, I actually left the apartment) to visit the Russian Consulate in Sydney. With only a month to go before I hit the road for 3.5 months, I need to get this visa process going… and fast.
So, I checked my docs, signed the forms and taped my not-so-excited looking passport photo in the designated box. After putting it all together in a secure black folder, I set off to catch my two separate trains to the Edgecliff suburb in Sydney.
Luckily, the sun was out — a pleasant change from this summer’s crappy weather — and I enjoyed my walk to the train station spurred by the anticipation of just getting the visa process started, that which has been a huge stress hanging on my back. The Green Square train was empty enough, so I had no trouble finding a seat right by the door in the atrium section which I find helpful when you have just one stop until your train change at Central.
The funny thing that I realized in this process is that I have never taken the train to Edgecliff before. When I got off at Central, I actually had to search to find my correct platform — funny, right?! I get there, to the platforms down a very, very long escalator, and casually wait the 5 minutes or so for the train to come, which is when my world came crashing down.
Where was my folder?!
Wait, wait, I tell myself. I put my hands up and turn from side to side as if searching my body for… something. My bag hung on my shoulder, but I know that I didn’t have my folder in there — it didn’t fit! My stomach turned as I came to the realization that I did a major, major boo-boo.
I left the folder on the train!
As the reality sunk in, I turned back towards the escalators doing the stereotypical and extended, “Oh, shhhit… oh, shhhhhit!” that got louder and more defined for all to hear.
And then I ran… up the escalators, plowing past anyone in my way… but I don’t know why I was running because the train had already left about 8 minutes before. I didn’t know where I was going, or what I was going to do. What do you do when you leave something on the train?!
When I got up the escalators, I saw a CityRail worker at the ticket machines. I ran up to him out of breath and jittery proclaiming excitedly that I left a very important folder on the train.
“Ok, which train did you come from? That one downstairs?”
“No, no,” I said out of breath. I couldn’t even find the words to tell him with the anxiety of the moment coming over me.
“Ok, ok, where did you come from?”
I shouted out “Zetland”, to which he responded that there are no trains from Zetland. Right, I walk to Green Square.
“Ok, go to the platform and talk to the attendant there.”
I ran. I know, it’s not the end of the world, but the thoughts were going a mile a minute… because I was so dumb and made such a stupid mistake.
We were pushing time already with these visas and here I made the biggest f-up by LOSING the folder with the passport in it!
When I reached the control booth on the platform I got off at, the woman working there could see the urgency in my face. I swear I was so worked up that I had tears welling up in my eyes.
“I left a very important folder on the train!”
On the way there, I used my TripView app to pull up the routing of the train I was on, and we quickly saw that the train was pulling up to Wynyard.
“What was in the folder? Any money?”
“No money but my passport was in there! Mine and my boyfriend’s!”
Yep, I had both mine and Patrick’s passports in the folder. Not only did I forget mine on the train, I forgot someone else’s. Such an awful feeling!
The CityRail worker questioned again that there was no money in it, which seemed relieving to her, but to me, that WAS money. Thoughts about the cost to get those replaced and then to expedite all of our visas over the following weeks, the cost to get new passport photos that already ran us $30 (I threw those in there, too, just in case), plus the added stress, was like a nightmare. And then, what happens if someone takes our passports?!
She phoned Wynyard and told the platform attendant to check the train for my folder and then call back. I was a nervous wreck waiting for the phone to call. It took so long to hear back, I was sure they didn’t find it.
The past few days have been really hard on me. I don’t think I had slept well in a week, and a lot of other crap was wearing me down. Of course, this had to happen on top of the drama, and I quickly blamed my lack of sleep to doing such a stupid, forgetful error.
And the wait continued.
* * * * *
What do you think? Did I get our passports back?