Or is there?
Rhode Island’s metro train system offered free rides from Wickford Junction to Providence each Wednesday in February. And free parking at the station!
I organized a trip. A free trip. My mother, my daughter and my daughter’s mother-in-law were up for it.
The Providence train station is across the street from the high-fallutin’ Providence Place Mall, a place I rarely enter (a) because I’m not much of a shopper, (b) the parking garage is scary and (c) the drive to Providence includes lots of traffic.
I bite my fingernails in traffic.
Two little glitches popped up: my daughter’s sweet mother-in-law had to cancel due to a miserable head cold, and there was a storm. This was a rainstorm worthy of Noah and the Ark, the kind of drenching rain I hadn’t experienced since one frightening day in Scotland, on the Isle of Skye, in a van of Texans who were so sure we were all going to die they became hysterical with laughter. It was either laugh or run off to vomit into the foggy heather.
But I digress.
It was raining yesterday. Trust me on this.
Wickford Station is about 15 minutes from my house in the woods. It was optimistically built as a commuter station, but Rhode Islanders love their cars and most of them are accustomed to traffic, so business is a little slow. The lobby was filled with other rain-soaked day-trippers taking advantage of the free ride. We saw retired teachers we knew, grandparents with grandchildren, older couples, ladies who looked as if they were getting ready to shop.
We braved the rain and boarded the train. Two words: Party bus.
In other words, it was a happy group on the 9:10 train to Providence.
We were pretty wet after walking to the mall, so our first stop was for tea outside of Nordstroms. We strolled through some stores, but had the most fun at the Apple store trying out the new Ipads. I think my mother wants one now. I’m still lusting for an Ipod and speaker dock.
Then we ate lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Be still my heart.
After a most spectacular lunch, we went to Macy’s, where we witnessed an incredible shoplifting display, complete with security guards, managers, two screaming women and bags of fancy dresses thrown to the floor in front of the register.
I was afraid there was going to be a fight.
Then we trudged through the rain again to the train station, where most of our fellow passengers held doggy bags from the Cheesecake Factory, too.
The final fun event of the day was back in Wickford, on the elevator to a lower level of the parking garage. A three-year old boy, still jubilant over his very first train ride, began to shout “Wheeee!” as the elevator descended. The rest of us old folks joined in, which resulted in eleven people shouting “Wheeeeeee!” at the top of our lungs.
A fitting end to the day.