Look before you leap, especially after hours

One of the people in my cohort who is a local hire arranged an outing to a jazz club this past Friday night. She said we could all meet up there and listen to some live jazz.

I love any live music, and live jazz is the best kind of jazz, so I went.

The club is well-known in the city, and has a good reputation as being unpretentious and no-frills. It’s all about the music.

The group that was performing was terrific. They were tight, skilled, and their style was both engaging and innovative.

The conversation was good, too. I met another Foreign Service Officer who has been in the service for several years, and she lived in the city that I am hoping to get posted to. As we were talking, I realized that I had actually read her blog over a year ago. They say that the service is small, and you meet the same people over and over again. This experience was evidence of that.

The club is not close to any of the metro lines. I had to take a cab for about a mile from the closest station. So before it got too late, I decided to head home.

I took at cab back to Union Station, and got to the metro stop. After about 10:30 pm, the trains run less frequently. In addition, over the last few weeks, they have been doing maintenance work on the tracks on the weekends, so the trains run about every 20 minutes. If you miss a train, you have to wait that long for the next one.

Well, I got on the first train without any drama, but I had to change from the Red line to the Orange line. Of course, that meant that I had to wait for the next train, and I was unlucky enough to have to wait almost the full 20 minutes for my train.

As soon as I got on my train, I realized that I had gotten on the wrong train, going in a direction perpendicular to the direction that I needed to go. I was on a Blue line train instead of Orange. Yikes! I got off at the next station so that I could go back and get on the Orange line.

A twenty minute wait for the Blue train back to the junction station. Then another twenty minute wait at the junction station for my Orange line train. Did I mention that the temperature was in the low 20s? Although most stations are underground, the cold air still comes in. By this time, it was after 1:00 am. I had left the club at 11:30 pm.

After I finally reached my stop, I faced a 15 minute walk from the station back to my apartment. The shuttle bus service that the apartment runs stops at 10:30 pm. I walked in double-time, and made it back in 11 minutes. I finally got to bed about 2:00 am. Since I had gotten up at 5:00 that morning, that meant that I had a 21-hour day.

I had suspected, but I know this now for sure: I am too old for a 21-hour day.

Lesson learned: after listening to jazz and drinking whiskey, be very careful not to get on the wrong train. If you aren’t careful, you will be punished with a 21-hour day.

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