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Archive for the ‘Commuting’ Category

Monday Monday

Though I carefully set the alarm to 6 am, I foolishly neglected to hit the on switch. Consequently, I arose at 7– with a stifled cry of exasperation–and BLAM, dashed out the door at 7:20. I had taken a hasty shower, brushed teeth, dressed, and fed the cats–but no breakfast for Hope, no newspaper. I was somewhat laden down with the large stack of Christmas cards to be fed into the mailbox–and of course, it was raining. But, mission accomplished, and I entered the bus like a HERO!
HOWEVER.
Once arrived at the station I noted with glum resignation the signs of distress. Firemen walking up and down–one side of the platform was closed, there was a fire. SIGH. Trains were running but they were single tracking, many delays expected, and we were being thanked for our saintly patience by the loudspeaker lady.
Well, well, I got to work eventually–and visited the cafeteria for a fine breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast, with a large cup of coffee on the side.
I am now ready to rumble.

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Red Line Does it Again

This morning I dodged the horrid subway mess by traveling before it hit.
This evening, alas, I did NOT.
The train came in, I got on–and it stayed there, unmoving, lost in thought. Finally it moved on, to perform the same deeply disturbing business at the next stop. And at the third stop. Which is where I got off, pausing only to drop my gloves for some lucky person to pick up and cherish–HOW MANY TIMES have I told myself never to leave my gloves in my lap?
No matter.
I trudged up to the street, within a crowd of similarly disgusted commuters, summoning Lyft on my phone. The car eventually came, with someone already inside, and another to be picked up. And then we headed into the completely vile traffic. It was, of course, raining. It took an hour to get home.
But I could be still standing in the rain on some dark street corner, so really, all’s well.

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Incident

I left work at 4:30 as usual, and marveled at the golden sunset hitting the tops of the buildings as I walked to the subway. The sky was dark, and the various parapets and cornices glowed bright against it. Then, down to the train, through the black tunnels to my station and out to the bus –and homeward bound!
But halfway home, we stopped –there was a girl on the dark road screaming, holding in her arms what at first I thought was a package and then realized was a human being. Her father, it must have been. He was bleeding, she was terrified. A car stood in front of them–perhaps he had been hit by the car? The bus driver stopped the bus, somebody got out to see if he could help. Two women were walking about on the sidewalk, on their phones–the ambulance had been called, and came within 5 minutes. It pulled in front of us, stopped all the traffic, and began the business of trying to save the man’s life.
I realized there was nothing I could do that could help in any way, and got out and walked home. How I hope he lived, and that his daughter’s frantic fear was soothed.

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This morning was RATHER BRISK so I kept my head down as I strode to the bus stop. Until I came to the house whose enthusiastic owners had placed EIGHT inflatable Christmas figures in the yard. EIGHT! There was of course a Jolly Saint Nick, a Reindeer, a Tree–and also, just for the hell of it, a UNICORN. With a mane and tail in all the colors of the rainbow! Last year they had a mere 5 figures, obviously 2019 has been a prosperous year for them.

Wrenching my horrified gaze from the tableau, I saw the bus zipping past my bus stop at the bottom of the hill.
CURSES!
Once at the stop, I sat on the freezing bench and got out my phone to check the bus app. The next bus due in 8 minutes!
Only of course, it didn’t come: the app is a shameless liar.
After 8 minutes passed, it blandly slid over to announce the next bus, due in 23 minutes. Which came, eventually.

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Monday Monday

Today I left my phone at home, neatly tucked into its charging station.
DAMN IT.
So, today my commute is silent, bereft of Harry Potter #1, so excellently read by Jim Dale. I never read the books when they came out, somehow they didn’t appeal at that time in my life. But the movies, glimpsed on various plane rides, were not disagreeable, and the recent Fantastic Beast movies–clever prequels to HP– are quite charming, especially with beautiful Eddie Redmayne (sporting those artistically tousled locks) in the lead. So I was looking for something to listen to, and somehow a 45 hour Diana Gabaldon experience didn’t fill the bill. The Harry Potter book is only 8 hours. And you see, I pay the same price for the 45 hour entertainment as I do for the 8 hour one. But the perils and pleasures of Claire and Jamie begin to pall a teensy bit, and I am ready for something new–not only read by a brilliant performer, but with many more in the series available.
However, not today. Today I shall think beneficial thoughts instead of being entertained. It will be FINE.
Sigh.

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City dweller

The other day I heard a bump and looked up to see that the commuter ahead of me had stamped his foot AT A RAT which had swiftly scuttled away to hide behind a fare machine. YUCK. This was in the wide and handsome corridor heading towards the escalator to the street.
Of course, we know the city is teeming with rats, as are all cities in this floating world, but still, one doesn’t expect to encounter one in the early morning as one strides to the workplace.

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This morning my cat Bertie was annoying me by insisting on vigorously performing his toilette–and as he likes to place himself right against my side, the motion is disturbing. ‘STOP IT,’ I howled–more than once.
Then, it occurred to me to consult the clock.
HEAVENS! It was a half hour past my time to rise! Somehow my clock had failed to sound the alarm! That excellent cat was simply doing his duty by his beloved mistress, and if at the same time he managed to complete his morning ablutions, who can blame him? Well I did, of course.

Anyway, I leaped out of bed and cleaned and dressed and breakfasted and sprinted out the door–into a simply lovely morning. But I had foolishly decided to wear my New Shoes, and at each step was as if I was treading upon the points of needles or sharp knives, as the Little Mermaid noted after trading in her tail for feet.

I had no handsome prince to please, so changed into other shoes the minute I reached the office. My old shoes are a tad antique, and moreover do not feature the Velocity Memory Foam that the new ones do–but neither do they torment me at every step.
NOT a great way to start the week, but I must admit that the weather at least is perfect–bright, breezy, and COOL. That is to say, it is a genteel 72 degrees outside.
It has been so horribly hellishly hot lately that this respite feels quite heavenly.
It will change soon–cloud over, rain, soar up to the 80’s. But meanwhile, we have been given the gift of a lovely day or two. So happy end of August, everyone! September awaits us!

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This morning the bus darted in at 7:27, and ROARED away down the avenue with such power and speed that we arrived at Friendship Heights at 7:35! NOT without a certain white knuckled feeling of anxiety that such velocity could end in accident.

But, it didn’t, and we boarded the train with that cheery good will that animates the worker confident of arriving at his place of toil in good time.
But one must NEVER underestimate the power of the Evil One.
Having arrived at Dupont Circle, the train paused. The doors didn’t open. In tones of controlled panic, the train operator said, “WE…WE…WE… WE… will be OFFLOADING THIS TRAIN…AS SOON AS THE DOORS OPEN.”
But the doors didn’t open.
A man standing near my seat smiled wryly and said he expected we would all be Very Good Friends in an hour or so. I responded with asperity that we would surely all be getting out shortly.
Well, eventually the doors opened, and we all trundled out to stand with the multitudes on the platform. Train personnel stalked up the narrow aisle left beside the train and harangued us: we were standing too near the wounded train.

(NOTE: this an ARTIST’S VISION of a wounded train and may not be exactly like the actual Red Line train of this morning)

Sigh. It eventually limped off, and a new one rumbled in, we got on, we got to work.
And as always, I maintained that good natured joie de vivre that I am known for.

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This evening I was making my way down the escalator to the Metro when I had a glimpse of –a lady in a bridal gown hastening down the stairs before me! And a tall fellow in a suit with a flower in his button hole pursuing her. Arrived at the bottom, I peered around and saw them–a plump little girl, dark and shy in her white dress, embraced by her proud groom as another fellow aimed his camera at them.
The darling couple! I smiled at them and wished them well and continued on my way.

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For months I have been making use of a subway stop distant from my office by TWO BLOCKS. Often, I have had to WAIT FOR A LIGHT TO CHANGE before I could cross the street on the way to or from this distant place.
I must admit that the Gallery Place stop is in a lively area, often attended by musicians and buskers. Also, the big sports arena draws a stream of visitors brightly accoutered in their team colors, and the police are always vigilant, ready to entertain passers by with their gallant interceptions of the would be drunk and disorderly. AND the grand Portrait Gallery is right across the street, a charming vista. And heaven knows, one needs the exercise.

But all these delights pale in comparison to a subway stop that is HALF a block away! Judiciary Square, a few paltry steps from the office, CLOSED its nearby entrance back in November, a day that shall live in infamy.
And now it is OPENED AGAIN! My heart lifts with joy!
It’s true that nasty plywood barriers ring the escalators, but once again I can use this fine facility! And need not sprint for miles to board at the front of the train, as at this entrance to this stop, I arrive at the front of the train. Comrades, I exult!
Though I realize that now once again I will have to come up with a dollar every week to give the beggar lady who stands on that path on Fridays, a fee I saved going the other route. But I will pay it gladly! Worth every penny!

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