Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dear Catastrophe Waitress

The metro has turned me into a woman on the edge. The confusion generated yesterday over the Smithsonian station closing would have been laughable had we all not been tired and hot and ready to be home. As I was headed out the door, I heard rumor of backups on the orange and blue lines but also knew I had to risk it anyway. When I got to McPherson Square, it was pandamonium. People coming up the escalator were telling people headed into the station to turn around. Surprisingly the platform wasn't freakishly crowded because so many people were afraid to even pass through the stalls.

No sooner had I made it to my side of the platform when we all noticed the blue line train that should have been on our side pulling into the station on the opposite track. Mass chaos. Everyone racing up the escalator, beating a path to the other side. They must be single-tracking it, right? Would have been too easy to actually make an announcement. Wait. What was that? An announcement about my orange line train coming on the other side just as I made it to the other platform? I pulled my own Amazing Race as I spun around and ran right back up the escalator to the other side in a matter of seconds. Running en masse, a number of us made it onto the orange line train toward Vienna wedged in a corner with bicycle handlebars poking me.

Because I was pressed up against one of the doors, it was my irritated face people saw as the train pulled into their station and they were deciding whether to press their way on. I get really annoyed when people push their way on an already overcrowded train, and last night, I felt like I had some sway in not making our situation worse. Maybe I was just punchy, but I started shaking my head no as we would pull into stations, indicating their was no fucking way any more people could squeeze into our car. I met my match at Rosslyn with a guy who didn't buy my 'no' and forced his way in (and right up against me). So, here I am on a hot, crowded train with the handlebars of a bike in my ass and an older guy in Docs practically pressed against my chest.
We continue to feel like cattle as we pull into Vienna and are forced to make our way up the one escalator open as people coming into the station try to make their way down.

Thinking this morning would surely be better, I got on at my usual stop only to have to listen to two grown men go at it. "Have you got a problem? Is there something you want to say to me?" "I don't have a problem." " I think you have a problem. Have you got a problem?" "It's common courtesy not to stand in front of the train doors." It went on and on and on (for three stops). I was to the point of breaking. Seriously, boys, just pull your dicks out and compare size and get it over with. All I want is to ride to work in a modicum of peace and was on the brink of saying all of this when the train pulled into McPherson Square.

I tell you...a woman on edge.


  1. i love hearing other people's public transportation stories. for something that i love in theory, the T is a constant source of misery for me. we've all been there but boy, your experience yesterday was killer!

  2. Oh God Serena. It's the WORST when that happens. At least you can reach the overhead bars though! Ugh, I'm having scary flashbacks to train life now. You should have called us for a ride. We would have taken you. Call me next time. :o(

  3. Commuting has been CRAPPY. It took me 1.75 hours to get to work and even longer to get home today:(

  4. At least your song of the day was absolutely wonderful!

    Well, not like your other songs are crap... but "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" is one of B&S's masterpieces.

    Commuting sucks.

  5. Makes me pine for the Chicago el!

    I never forced my way onto a train. If it was full, I let it pass. I think I'm slightly claustrophobic. I figured if I was 15 minutes late for work it was better than smelling some guy's armpit.