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I Love Metro

First off, let me just say that I like my seasons, like the differences between them and that whole changing bit they do, and so I like my seasons to be properly seasonal, as they should be. So, mid-November at 66 degrees just does not fly, ok? Let’s have no more of that. It’s autumn and the days should be crisp and cool, with possibly the occasional brisk wind that you complain about loudly but that makes you feel alive as you lean into it and pull your scarf tighter. Of course November needs gray ands rainy days too, and today’s storm fit the bill perfectly in that regard – but that warmth and humidity? No, absolutely no.

Alright then, moving on.

I’m trying to get to work early these days so that I might turn steady overtime into a day off that Friday after Thanksgiving. I’m also trying to avoid having to actually get up any earlier than I already do, which means my normal plodding morning routine has been condensed this week from the more realistic hour and ten minutes to a rather impossible forty-five minutes.  You think that’s not a lot of time to loose out of a morning routine? Have I acquainted you with my theory of the tyranny of the minutes in the morning yet? No?

Basically, in the morning, when you’re moving slow (unless you are one of those abysmally cheerful morning people who arise every dawn blissfully humming jaunty tunes and don’t mind chirpy bluebirds extolling the morn in song flitting about their shoulders, and if you are one of those people, then you should stay far away from me), minutes move by much more quickly and whether or not you catch that bus, or avoid the traffic jam and get to work on time all hinges on a few measly minutes that you spent staring at the closet too long, wondering what to wear. Or maybe your shower went just two minutes over your usual time, or perhaps eating that piece of toast took one more minute than it should have – the net result is your morning gets rushed, all thanks to those minutes just rushing by.

Can you tell I’m not a morning person?

Now then, as I was saying, I was trying to leave for work earlier than usual, while also getting a normal amount of sleep, which means I had to be faster at choosing clothes, packing up my stuff and getting out the door than I am usually inclined to do. This morning I was rather proud of myself because I managed to leave the house fifteen minutes early, in good time, and without feeling rushed. Success, I thought, no need to hurry, I will still get to work half an hour early.

Ha. Little did I know Metro had other plans for me.

The first thing that began dampening my mood was the rather warm and humid weather we were having this morning. Not Metro’s fault, probably, but you try walking in high humidity wearing a warmly lined raincoat. It’s not fun, especially when you’re walking fast and you have a twenty-minute walk ahead of you. However, I had Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on my iPod, so things aren’t all that bad.

I get to my metro stop, Woodley Park Zoo/Adams Morgan, and I notice a throng of anxious looking people milling about by the station. A throng that is not usually there in the morning. A throng that looks suspiciously like harried people trying to get somewhere on time and being hindered by something. However, I dismiss my foreboding and start down the first escalator. It is 7:05 AM. Plenty of time to get to work by 7:30.

Then I notice this guy coming up from the station’s bowels, trying to catch my eye. Since that is also unusual (how many strangers seek to speak to other commuters at that time of the day, or actually, ever?) I peel away my headphones only to hear that the station has no power and I shouldn’t try to catch a train from there. Stunning news. And if that guy hadn’t warned me, I might have trundled down in my obliviousness and used my fare card and found out the way Metro usually lets you find out there’s a problem on the line: by standing on the platform wondering where the hell the trains are.

So, thank you kindly morning commuter, for warning me. I will pass this favor along the next time this happens.

The meaning of the anxious throng outside is now made clear, as I join them in their fruitless wait for a Metro shuttle to take them to the next working station. Naturally, the only buses that come by are already so full that they do not even bother to stop. They ignore even the very upset Metro employee with the walkie-talkie who is pissed that no one at Central is heeding her calls for an empty bus, god dammit.

Eventually it dawns on me that I am entirely on the wrong side of the road, because of course I, unlike the throng, am trying to go north to Bethesda, not to downtown DC. D’oh. Did I mention it was early morning?

So, I start the longish walk from Woodley Park Zoo to Cleveland Park. There are no shuttles going my way but plenty of full ones in the other direction. At least the rain is holding off at this point. By the time I get to Cleveland Park Metro, the trains are running again in both directions (sort of anyway) and it is 7:30. I have missed my opportunity to be early, but thanks to my attempt at early arrival, I will now be on time.

When I step out of the station at Medical Center, it starts to rain. I love mornings, and I love Metro.


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