Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Riding on the Metro-o-o-o-oh

Every week or so, the DCPost does at least one chat session about commuting on the Metro system - a tangled web of train and bus routes that theoretcially get you from point A to point B in a relatively safe, efficient manner. The DC Metrorail system has only been in place for 30-ish years - the design of the trains emotes a certain 1970s Disney World - monorail vibe, and the orange, brown and yellow train interiors simply SCREAMS "post-`60s design hangover." But, the trains themselves are graffiti-free, kept pretty clean, and homeless people are kept to a minium.

Except everybody on these chats is just BITTER - spittin' bile over some slight that they believe the Lords of the Rails perpetuated on them, individually, to make them late for some event - either getting to work, going home from work, or making them woefully late for a Nationals' game. The questions are fairly repetitive in nature - "When will the Potomac Avenue stop get it's elevator repaired?" "Why can't Metro keep the escalator at Braddock Road working?" "What's up with the crowds at the Metro Center?" "Who's that cute Asian girl who gets on at McPherson Square?"

The chat hosts respond as best they can - Metro is woefully underfunded by the regional governments, that the system has tried in vain to propose to new lines in different parts of town, yes, some people have lousy Metro etiquette - or, Metroquette, as I'd propose.

Sadly, nobody seems to know about the cute Asian girl at McPherson Square. I only see the same scruffy mechanical engineer from the Pentagon City stop. And I hope he's not giving me the eye anymore.

As I first began my commuting opus to Crystal City last month, I marvelled at how effectively Metro can move thousands of people throughout the Nations' Capital. Trains arriving and departing every 5 to 10 minutes, not too shabby. Having formerly lived in such mass transportation hotspots like Boston and Chicago, where trains have been around since the Roosevelt Administration (Teddy, not Franklin), and most of the stations are woefully undersized and the rails are in only slightly better shape than George Wendt - those are cities that deserve to gripe about their mass transit systems.

Last week, however, I came up with my first real complaint about Metro - why oh why don't you have a bathroom ANYWHERE? It's bad enough that once the initial crush of rush hour traffic is done that they go on a 15 - 20 minutes per train schedule, but to not have a pisser, a spot-a-pot (a.k.a. a caibow for my Iowan friends) , a trough or even a dark corner - that's just mean. By the time my journey from DuPont Circle to Largo was over, it was almost 72 minutes of bladder torture. Every bump in the tracks between the Stadium/Armory and District Heights was like a stab in the spleen.

And now, this A.M. - again, at the Largo stop. I pulled my Vibe, Raider, into a parking space on the top floor, next to an open spot. There are dozens of open spaces near me. I open my door, and open my back seat door, attempting to fill my gym bag with all sorts of working-out goodies, like shoes. A man in a shiny new Hummer H2 starts to pull into the open spot next to me...where most of my open rear door and my arse are. I turn around and give him a look that says "I'll be done in a second."

He keeps pulling in to the spot...closer...closer...soon, I can feel the H2's air intake tugging on my pants leg. He guns his engine. Impatient, is he.

(do you have any idea how long it's been since I've been able to say I could feel the air from a hummer on my leg?)

I take this man and machine's passive-aggressiveness for an opportunity to give some active aggression. I get my torso out of my Vibe, Raider, and yell at him "Give me a second, would ya? Why don't you park somewhere else!" He lowers his passenger side window, and asks "what did you say???" I said, again "Either give me a second, or park somewhere else!" I continue with my packing.

He pulls in more. The H2 is about 3 inches from me. I can hear individual belts spinning in the engine. Gotta give them credit - the timing belt sounds good.

I slam my Vibe, Raider's rear door and start yelling at the guy. I walk over to the other side of my car, and finish my packing. At this point, it has taken him almost three minutes to park his SUV.

The idiot finally parks his Planet Raper, and walks by me saying "There was plenty of room." I asked him "Why didn't you park some place else? There are tons of spaces around here. You wasted your time and mine." He counters with "Why didn't YOU park someplace else? I'm going to be late." He starts walking closer to me while I'm in my car.

At this point, Radio Ray came back from hiatus...except not nice voice Radio Ray who did funny commercials, but Radio Ray who got fired for dropping the F-Bomb - twice - on one show...Radio Ray gets out of my Vibe, Raider, and into his face.

"Because, dumbass, I parked here first. Jesus, you've got the money to afford the Hummer but no common sense, shithead. You wasted a gallon of gas AND...(as I waited for Metrorail's distinctive 'ding-dong' to announce the departure of a train) *DING DONG* you just missed your train."

It was at that moment when I realized what he was. In Owings Mills, the guys who drive H2s are Baltimore Ravens and the guys who wish they were Baltimore Ravens. In Largo, the guys who drive H2s are about 5'4", 135lbs, and scared shitless because they just angered an obviously-unstable 32 year old, 5'9", 204 pound guy who physically dwarfed them. He hustled off for the elevator, muttering something.

There's a Metro garage camera system over there, one of those multiple camera set ups. I hope they got that on tape.

I was looking cute this morning :)

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