Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Misadventures on the Metro

chapter 44
I’ve been there 1,750 times (to be inexact).

And it’s usually because I leave myself the minimum number of minutes to get to work on time in the morning.

But this is not intentional. Most days my hair is unwrangle-able. And I have NOTHING TO WEAR. And I pause to brush my teeth (unlike that one guy). And husband (my metro station chauffeur/chaperon) spends 20 minutes getting into his slip-on shoes.

So by the time I arrive AT the metro station, I have LESS than the minimum number of minutes to get to work on time.

I sprint down the escalator, two stairs at a time. Then I power walk across the hexagonal tile and, mid-stride and in one smooth motion, dab the sweat streaming down my forehead, snatch the fare card from my unfathomable purse and slash it over the station turnstile. I pause for two seconds while the gate s----l----o----w----l----y opens, peering over the railing to see a train with beckoning open doors.

Re-hoisting my purse squarely on my shoulder, I rush to the next escalator (my skirt blowing willy nilly in the windy tunnel). Just as I stumble down the last stair, the doors seal shut and the train speeds from the station, leaving me doubled over, panting, dripping with sweat and tugging on my gravity-afflicted pantyhose.

The same thing happened today, only I wasn't starring in the scene.

It was some other lady.

She breezed past me, poking my side with her swinging purse. I was only halfway down the escalator as she impatiently paused at the turnstile. Then she broke into a full sprint, her pencil skirt straining with every stride.

Taking my pretty time, I boarded the final escalator and spotted her already on the platform below, flinging her body at the train's closing doors. In a desperate final attempt, she jabbed her knee between the doors.

And there she stood, caught.

With her left knee raised to the square at waist level and her hands desperately yanking the immovable doors apart, she wobbled unsteadily on one heel. Her face flamed with anger and I could almost hear the seam in the back of her skirt splitting, stitch by stitch.

The doors parted, but just long enough to release her leg from the pinch. She stood by and despondently watched the train vanish.

I almost hugged her, but she was really sweaty and besides, even the greenest metro rookie knows the doors open for nothing and no one.

My advice: save your skirt, breath, makeup and rage. There's a train barreling down the track in t-minus two minutes.

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Holly said...

so well written, i was there! i also pictured Chris putting on his slip on slippers except I pictured a bald man in gray sweat pants and a white t-shirt (with a pocket) slowly putting on those brown slippers with the fuzzy edge. :) maybe Chris in 25 years?

Chris said...

Slip on slippers are the best. Maybe you can start riding Trax to get some new material.

aniC said...

what are we going to do when you leave dc and dont have anymore misadventures on the metro? misadventures on trax couldn't possibly do the metro justice!
if for nothing else, i think you can't move for this reason alone.

Rachel said...

hahaha...I wish you had given her a hug. Then you would have been the REAL metro rookie!

DC Diva said...

I'm so embarrassed you saw me! Me, last year... every.single.time. I took the metro to work.

Bad thing about Metro-ing that late at night for the night shift: trains don't come every 2 minutes. More like every 20.