“Screw it. I’m finding a hot date and taking her to Disney World!” – Part I
So a couple of buddies and myself were planning formal for our fraternity. We went to UNC and were looking around at some places that people would be excited about going. Well after “brainstorming” for an entire night at the bar, we landed on a jackpot of an idea. One of my drunker friends, obviously frustrated with the lack of decision, jumped up, kicked his chair across the bar and boldly stated:
“Screw it, I’m finding a hot date and taking her to Disney World!”
This statement caused an uproar of both laughter and intrigue as the wheels started turning in our drunken, half-functioning brains. The discussion started flowing about how we could take an entire fraternity, plus dates, to Disney World. We had some major budgetary issues to contend with not to mention the obvious skepticism with which we would be met by the 50+ dudes that would have to agree to undertake this monumental adventure. However, as the excitement rose after talks of what we could do and how we could do it, we decided that this would be our destination and we would make this happen.
Following several days of intense internet searching and numerous phone calls to various transportation providers, we finally found how we were gonna get 100 people across three states. Planes were too expensive and buses were too uncomfortable to ride in for that long. There was only one possible mode of transport: the good ol’ American rail system.
That’s right boys and girls, we were gonna load up on the Amtrak and party till we see a Giant Mouse.
After undertaking an enormous amount of preparation for our journey, the weekend finally arrives. At 9:00 pm on Thursday night, the entire entourage of excited dudes and nervous co-eds loads up in various SUV’s (obviously) and begins the 30 minute journey to the Amtrak station in Raleigh, NC. Surprisingly (sarcasm), we are basically the only people in the Raleigh Amtrak station at 10:00 pm on a Thursday night. I was utterly amazed that we were able to get everyone to the station with minutes to spare. However, that is about the last thing that went right all trip.
While talking to the ticket lady, she informs us that we need the payment stub that was sent to my friend via the U.S. mail in order to board the train. This payment stub is nowhere to be found. This stub had nothing written on it about needing to be show for boarding. It was literally a receipt for the 100 train tickets that we had ordered, and that’s it. So as you can tell we had a problem. We had one “ticket” for 100 people and the only “ticket” was 30 minutes away while the train would be arriving any minute.
The next few minutes of my life would have been better served had I repeatedly bashed my head into the off-pink cinderblock walls of the train station.
Risking the chance of repeating myself in an attempt to portray the sheer stupid with which we were faced with, there were 100 college kids in a train station that probably could fit 50. These kids were waiting on a train that was scheduled to arrive any minute. There was a reservation of 100 in the computer system. This reservation had a list of 100 full names that corresponded EXACTLY to the 100 kids that were slowly starting to lose their minds in the off-pink colored house of stupidity. Despite these ‘freak coincidences’, the fact that we did not have a receipt of the payment (on a credit card that was present in the discussion) that had nothing written on it saying it must be presented for boarding required our brian surgeon of a teller would not allow us onto the upcoming train.
After spending agonizing minutes using reasoning skills that could be understood by a three year old, we finally realized that we weren’t going to get anywhere. Finally, we got her to agree to call and wake up some manger. There is nothing like trying to explain a situation to a guy on the phone who: 1. is angry that you woke him up, 2. could really care less about your situation, and 3. is about as rational as a poop throwing monkey. At this point, I was so frustrated that I wanted to knock out my front teeth with the 1970′s style rotary phone receiver into which I had been yelling for an extended period of time.
Just when we had about decided that when the train arrives, we were all just going to hop on and watch them try to kick us all off, fate smiled down. Just before the train arrived at the station, something happened with the track or a switch or something (at that point I didn’t really care) that delayed the arrival for an estimated 45 minutes. Suddenly, our opportunity arose. Immediately we found the one guy whose girlfriend who wasn’t going to be able to make it and gave her a call. We instructed her to drop what she was doing and rush the “ticket” down I-40 so that we could begin our adventure to Orlando. She reluctantly agreed and now the race was on.
It is likely that for the first time in recorded history, a group of travelers were actually rooting for a delay to take as long as possible.
It was extremely important that the “ticket” arrive as quickly as possible because our lovely railroad attendant stated that “under no circumstances” would the train be at the station one minute longer than it needed to be. Well lucky for us, the “ticket” arrived just before the train itself did. The formal in Orlando was officially on!
See Part II for the rest of the ridiculous formal experience.