August 2008


Boneheaded Mistake

Wednesday I was a stupid idiot moron.

For the second time in less than a year, I managed to leave my passport on my desk, at home, instead of carrying it with me on an international trip. I realized this in Frankfurt and turned around going back home to Weimar to pick up the passport and start anew this morning.

As punishment the normal train was not running Thursday, there was a substitute train of a style I find especially uncomfortable.

I think I’m going to leave a note attached to my suitcase, “Got Passport?”

It also meant that I got to see the scenery between Weimar and Frankfurt three times in 27 hours. Other than the gorgeous redhead sitting at my table the last time, the scenery didn’t get any more exciting or interesting.

I did, personally, witness something I’ve wondered about since my first journey onboard an InterCity Express four years ago. The trains have two kinds of toilets–toilets barely big enough to hold a person, and one or two spacious wheelchair accessible toilets. The former have normal doors, with locks that one can easily turn and confirm, while the later, because they are for wheelchairs have automatic sliding doors.

The automatic sliding doors have always bothered me–you press a button to open and shut them, and I’ve always feared that if I pressed the wrong button on the inside, the door would shut, but not lock, and that somebody would come along and open the toilet whilst I was, err… engaged.

Yesterday I was the guy who came along: I had two toilets in front of me with the small and easy to lock toilet showing as engaged. Next door, the big wheelchair accessible toilet did not have its “busy” light lit up, so I pressed its button to open the automatic sliding door, which obediently slid open to reveal a man sitting on the throne.

I guess my concern was justified.

9 comments to Boneheaded Mistake

  • That story is only a camera and bulletin-board away from making reality out of a bad office joke. Especially if the handicap accessible door is malfunctioning.

  • J

    That happens freqently on RE trains when the people don’t press the ‘Blinkwhatever’ button.

  • IUMike

    I met a job candidate earlier this summer who had missed her plane because she forgot to bring her purse (and hence picture ID) to the airport. I told her your story about forgetting your passport to help make her feel better 🙂

  • IUMike

    She didn’t get the job, by the way.

  • Reko

    Hi, Adam! I don’t really have anything to say about your posting. I just wanted to let you know that I read it and that I’m thinking of you.
    Bussi, Reko

  • claire

    “stupid idiot moron?” don’t be so hard on yourself!

    That said, forgetting my passport is one of my biggest fears. I check my purse all the time while travelling to make sure that I have it.

  • tqe / Adam

    @CQ: do you want to be a model?

    @J: They need to make the instructions a lot clearer… I admit my German is crap, but if Germans are involuntarily exposing themselves, then something is wrong.

    @IUMike: Strange–unless she was flying internationally, she should have been able to fly without an ID. Maybe a bit more security than normal, but there are ways to do it.

    @Reko: I miss you too!

    @clair: I got over it pretty quickly… it could have been a lot worse, at least I remembered in Frankfurt, not in Dortmund.

  • It is not that bad, except you have to travel back and forth, that must have been so frustrating. Is it bad to leave your passport in your designated carry one bag, so then you never forget it? I used to forget stuff all the time, so eventually I just started to leave it all in that bag! Did you talk to the redhead?

  • tqe / Adam

    @NewWrldYankee: I don’t have a designated bag that I carry on; I have my briefcase and my suitcase–the only constant is my briefcase, and I don’t want to keep my passport in the briefcase because then I’m carrying it to work every day, and that’s a security risk I want to avoid. For short trips (like, say, Bremen) I do the briefcase and a small backpack…

    I just need to not forget it!