Monday, June 26, 2006

Misadventures on the Metro

chapter 13
This weekend it rained buckets. Literally. The nightly torrential downpour was choreographed with jagged lightning spears and constant rolling thunder. Though it was “fun” to watch, the storms prevented a much anticipated trip to the beach and made for a soggy morning commute.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – severe weather of any kind handicaps travel in this city, be it by Metro, car, bus or cab. I personally believe it also acts as a cloning device – multiplying the amount of people trying to get from point A to point B. As I swiped my SmartTrip and headed toward the platform, I was met by a swarm of commuters. Plus, it’s summer in the city, translation: humidity. With excess people filling the station, a wave of sticky heat quickly enveloped me, causing my freshly applied make up to melt.

Weaving through the crowd, I managed to locate a waiting spot. I opened my girly indulgence of a book, which is just getting good, and tried to ignore the annoying intercom voice enumerating the multiple morning Metro delays. After 10 minutes a train came, but I wasn’t feeling brave enough to sweat it out squished between who knows who.

Finally, another train approached. I found my way inside, planted my feet next to a pole and continued reading. The ride wasn’t terrible as our train seemed less crowded than I’d anticipated. But after two stops, the driver announced we would be waiting at the station “until further notice.”

The words “until further notice” inspired a wave of eye rolls, sighs and watch-checking. Some people exited in search of a cab, which I briefly considered before quickly coming to my senses that it would just be a very expensive alternative form of waiting. Eventually we were moving again, but by the next station, we received the same “until further notice” announcement. More eye rolling, sighs and watch-checking commenced. A girl in front of me even fainted at one stop.

Essentially the entire trip was a cycle of traveling, “until further notice” messages and annoyed passenger reactions, repeated over and over. As if the cycle wasn’t frustrating enough, some people began using their cell phones to inform their employers about the delay (which I’m sure was unnecessary since it is unlikely anyone made it to the office yet). And there’s nothing more annoying than peaceful reading silence interrupted by a noisy cell phone user, especially those who speak as though they aren’t surrounded by strangers overhearing their weekend re-cap to so-and-so co-worker.

After about 90 minutes I made it to work. My stomach is a little queasy from the stop-and-go ride. Luckily, until further notice, I’m not riding the Metro. Not until I have to head home anyway. Ugh.


**Sidenote: Best quote from news reports about the weather-aflicted ride:

WASHINGTON POST: RECORD RAIN WREAKS HAVOC FOR MORNING COMMUTE. MUDSLIDE CLOSES PART OF BELTWAY EARLY THIS MORNING. METRO DELAYS--SOME STATION CLOSINGS. BEWARE OF HIGH STANDING WATER ON ROADWAYS. TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN.

Thanks for the tip.

4 comments:

Carla R. Jenkins said...

The deluge was incredible. My basement apartment flooded, but luckily my red line connection was running this morning. Hopefully, wmata will have everything drained or a more effective backup plan and shuttle bus schedule.

Phil Jackson said...

Wickstrom, my pictures are all over your website... eating nasty bacon. And now the Washington Post knows!

Rachel Connett said...

Becky,
Your commute stories make me happy I can pay almost $3.00 a gallon for gas and drive my little car full of my own personal space. However you do get to enjoy the highlights of the big city, so I am still pretty jealous!
Miss You!

Dan said...

The "Turn Around Don't Drown" comment is actually part of the NWS's campaign to stop drivers from trying to cross the impromptu rivers that form during rainstorms.