When I was a child, one of my favorite books was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was a delightfully relatable story about a little boy who went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. The rest of Alexander’s day continues in a series of unfortunate events of which he remains the victim. Throughout his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, Alexander repeatedly tells his mother that he wants to move to Australia, where, supposedly, nothing bad ever happens.
By the end of his day, Alexander’s mother tells him the unwanted truth: that some days are like that, even in Australia.
Last week, I discovered that Alexander’s mother wasn’t lying.
After three gorgeously touristy days in Sydney with my friend Jessy (who had flown all the way from Indiana to spend two weeks with me), the two of us were itching to get on the train and head north to Queensland, where we hoped to bask in sunshine, swim with Nemo on the Great Barrier Reef, and sweat in a rainforest.
The only trick was we had to catch the train first. Now for someone who has spent the past five years catching trains in a big city, I figured I had this one covered. And like any gracious friend, Jessy trusted me.
Our train was set to leave from Sydney’s Central terminal at 7:15 a.m. We did our homework and planned to catch the 6:37 local train from Epping (where I’d been staying for the past 10 days), arriving at Central at 7:05—not a lot, but just enough time to catch our coach. To our luck, we arrived at the station several minutes early, and found ourselves on the 6:33 train instead. Perfect!