Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Misadventures on the Metro

chapter 35
If I had surgery to extract the part of my brain that handles Metro riding, a perplexed team of doctors would discover a blob of crusty, calloused, withered, black –- who am I kidding? No part of my brain is dedicated to Metro riding.

Commuting in the city is such a monotonous, have-to-do daily task that I, like most people, switch to autopilot when I travel. The result is crowded city sidewalks filled with glassy-eyed zombies and Metro trains brimming with strangers whose closeness would require at least two stiff drinks under any other circumstances.

It’s almost like losing an hour of my life everyday –- half-an-hour drowsily traveling to work in the morning and half-an-hour dragging myself home at night.

The other day was like all the others I’ve lost commuting.

Except it wasn’t.

I made my way to the train platform (don’t ask me how – I was on autopilot, after all) and was already on planet White Stripes, reading my book. All of a sudden, a man walked up to me, tapped my shoulder and asked me a question. Startled, I pulled out an ear bud and asked, “Excuse me?”

“I heard that book is great. How do you like it?”

(Who knows what my shocked face looked like at that point.)

I stammered, “It’s interesting. I'm enjoying it so far.”

“I’ve heard that. I’ll have to check it out.”

He turned and walked away. No request for money. No creepy pick-up line. Just a man who wanted my opinion on the book I was reading.

Mouth gaping, I stood in frozen silence for six seconds.

By the time the train arrived, I was back on autopilot. I boarded and found a pole to balance against.

Suddenly, I felt another tap on my shoulder. (By now I was convinced someone pasted a “tap me” sign on my back.)

“Would you like to sit?” A nice woman glanced from my high heels to my bulky purse and smiled.

“Oh, thanks, but I’m okay.”

Now there was no returning to autopilot. I spent the remainder of the trip glancing from passenger to passenger –- awaiting my next shoulder tap.

I took comfort in the swarm of commuting zombies who exited the train at my station.

But then, a girl walking up the escalator ahead of me flailed her arms just inches away from knocking me down the stairs.

I should be thankful I was actually thinking or my obituary would read, "In loving memory of Becky, who fell down an escalator in the Metro station. We can only imagine the 'Misadventure on the Metro' she would have written."

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Seige said...

you are SO funny. if i had to deal with that every day i just might lose it.
love the stories!

lacochran said...

Love the idea of a "tap me" sign!

If the right is for standing and the left is for walking, what side is for falling backwards to your untimely death?

Jessica F. said...

I would tap your shoulder it I was on the metro with you too and ask..."excuse me, but how is it possible that you are the cutest thing ever???"