Murnau, train & castle. By Wassily Kandinsky. 1909. (Somehow available as free clipart. I imagine this is what the derailment would look like if it was painted by Wassily and happened in Murnau near a castle)

About 24 hours after the train derailment notice, the UPS tracker showed my hiking pants had survived the carnage and had presumably hopped another train, arriving in Kansas. So, they may still make it in time for the trip. 

Way to go UPS!

I had assumed the pants were lost in a crushed box in a debris-strewn ditch or charred beyond recognition in a smoldering heap of rail cars somewhere in the Great Plains.

Not to say that my life is so shallow that I have nothing better to do than sit around fretting over the progress of a pair of clearance pants I bought online. I was just intrigued by the derailment notice. It brought up so many questions. I searched around for any mention of a train accident an hour out of California but was unsuccessful.

And you have to wonder how common these derailment notices are. Does someone at UPS key that in on a case-by-case basis, or does it happen enough that they just check the “train accident” box and hit send? And what other disaster-related updates do they have? “A German U-boat attack has delayed delivery,” “A vulcanic eruption has delayed delivery,” “Your package was left unattended in an airport terminal, and police detonated it as a precaution. Delivery will be rescheduled.”

Also, I tweeted the delay when it first happened, and UPS tweeted back, telling me to continue to check the tracking site for updates. 

 So they apparently have staff that patrol Twitter for such mentions.

I’m eager to hear answers, observations and theories on these mysteries. If you have some, feel free to share in the comments section below.