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Archive for the ‘Commuting’ Category

Persistence

I am making slow but deliberate promenade towards Back to Normal, after a fairly ghastly surgery on Tuesday.
So I there I was, carefully making my way to the Kennedy Center last night, to see American in Paris. It was BRUTALLY cold in the metropolis last night, dear friends–many degrees below freezing. My brain was not progressing at warp speed, but I gently and firmly made my way through the familiar streets to–WHAT FRESH HELL WAS THIS?? The street that led to the K Center was….CLOSED.
OK. OK!
I would take another route. I inched up to the Circle, noticing many other cars taking a road before the circle, but too slow in the uptake to follow them. Which is why I shortly thereafter found myself BACK on the same track, coming up to the same turn, doomed to repeat my foolishness.
But not so! I had learned! Again inching forward in traffic, I turned on the correct road, proceeded in a slow but determined way and eventually found myself entering the K Center grounds!
AND SWIFTLY leaving them to rocket over into Virginia, having made an ill-considered move which put me onto the bridge and on my way to eternity.
But I foiled eternity, somehow hooking onto Route 50, crossing the Potomac on Key Bridge, and nipping back down Whitehurst Freeway. For the third time. THIS time, I made no mistakes and eventually found myself $23 poorer, car parked within those sacred walls, and myself soberly progressing to the Opera House.
For which, Hosanna!
The show was very nice, lots of color and verve. Probably more vervy with the original performers, but this was fine. I smiled, I applauded, and then I went home.
Success–I congratulate myself!

Next time I shall ask Google before I leave.

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When the painter said he couldn’t start until the 14th, I SHOULD have said, OK, we’ll have to wait until after Christmas. But instead, with that imbecilic fecklessness which is one of my (very few) flaws, I brightly bade him go ahead. Which is why instead of baking cookies, making casseroles, and wrapping gifts, I have spent the weekend dusting books and objets d’art –and they are VERY DUSTY INDEED, (for which I blame no one, least of all, myself) and putting them back on shelves. The shelves are now gleaming white and looking very well indeed, but possibly their former dilapidated and grubby aspect would not have materially depressed our holiday spirits.
SO–having not had time to do all the cooking and baking I usually task myself with, I steeled my nerves and set off for COSTCO to purchase food stuffs. And wine, of course. Getting there is slightly terrifying, a trip I could never make without Siri and her firm directions–horrifying high speed expressways intersecting in bewildering complexities. But, made it there, and as always was overwhelmed–it is a TEMPLE OF GREED–everything you could want is there, towering up to the ceiling in huge piles of luxurious amplitude. I spent quite an astonishing amount of money, filling up my little car, and am now back home and ready for lunch.

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Metro Coffee

In a humble attempt to win back the esteem of their customers–disheartened and alienated after months of terrible commutes–the Washington Metro had minions handing out coupons for a Free (Medium size) Mc’Coffee yesterday. Each coupon bore a breezy message about much our support was appreciated, and how during the SafeTrackSurge they did THREE YEARS WORK IN ONE YEAR!

I, uh—well, very nice, Metro! Good try, at least.
I gave the coupon (and the usual dollar) to the the beggar lady who stands on the corner every Friday, and she gave me her blessing, as she does every week.
And as always, I figure I’m safe for another week at least.

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Metro does it again!

In my haste to tell you about the Ghost Band and their dirty laundry, I see I inadvertently left a note about Yet Another Metro Failure (YAMF) tacked on to the bottom of the post.
I know you are ANXIOUS to hear the whole story!
Alors:
On Tuesday morning as my fellow commuters and I glumly took our places in the escalator to descend into the gloomy depths of Friendship Heights, we noticed two commuters rushing UPWARDS against the flow, like salmon leaping upriver.
Image result for salmon leaping upstream
Frivolous FUN SEEKERS, I thought disapprovingly–and yet, their faces, as they approached and then passed on their way up had nothing of the sportive expression one would expect. Quite the opposite, in fact–grim and furious.
As we arrived at the bottom I noticed two more adventurers valiantly embarking on the upriver adventure.
And, the reason for their insane resolve:

  1. Metro had closed down the third escalator to the station some time ago–one of those renovation projects which stretch into millennia–and so there were only the two remaining.
  2. The other escalator was not functioning
  3. AND–just to add insult to injury–CLOSED. Which is to say, a barrier had been placed in front of it.

There was a vast line of fuming commuters waiting for the (one) elevator.
What can I say–YAMF!

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This morning I took an unanticipated 2 mile hike though downtown DC–realizing yet again, what a pretty town this is! Filled with ancient buildings and little parks, often ornamented with some statue or other.

A little bird was perching on Edmund Burke’s hand as I passed by (the original of this sculpture provides rest for weary birds in Bristol, England.)
Why was I taking a 2 mile hike, you ask?
Well, the Red Line was up to its pranks again. Smoke somewhere, perhaps a fire? Whatever, all commuters heading south into the city were dumped out at Dupont Circle, and that graceful ornament of the city was swarming with disgruntled commuters and confused tourists, completely overwhelming the pathetic array of buses confidently offered by Metro as a means of continuing our journeys. So I asked my phone how far it was to walk to my office–not quite 2 miles it told me, helpfully showing several routes. RIGHT! The day was clear and warm, I had my walking shoes on, and I set out. FIRST taking a few panicked moments, as always, to figure out which way to head. WHERE AM I, Google? Do you mean go this => way or that<= way? Eh? But eventually I just followed the crowds who had also decided to walk, and we made our way through the city streets, gradually dispersing to our various places of employment. It is, as I said, a pretty town, and it was a pleasant if brisk walk from Dupont Circle to my building. I will own that by the time I got to the gates of Chinatown, I was gently GLOWING, as they say.

However, I cooled down once at the office, and now feel a comfortable sense of virtue, having completed all exercise requirements for the week.

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Yesterday I rose before the sun and –not trusting the bus and train to get me there in time–drove downtown to administer a meeting. And patiently endured the grim meeting, which seemed to last for days but in fact was only 9 hours (of a pointless tedium that strips the life force right out of you), drove home through bad rush hour traffic without whining–well, without whining very much–and once home, caroused with the cats until prudently retiring at 9:30.
Because why, because I had to do it again today.
Only today, bus and train as usual, because WHO CARES if I’m late, Day 2 is just a small closed meeting and they can eat their bagels and start their everlasting discussions without me. Though naturally, one doesn’t need to share this information with the bosses.
Well, in the night came the Snowstorm. Not much snow, but enough that the Montgomery Ride On bus system switched over to what they call the ‘S’ Schedule. S for Snow!
Also for Stupid, Senseless, and Soulless.
Basically, S schedule means that NO BUSES will be running, except in the wrong direction.
So, I fought my way against the storm out into the dark pre-dawn, sleet driving into my face. The street lights lit my way on the deserted snowy streets, I bravely trudged onwards, and once at the bus stop, stood stoically enough in the sleet pelting dark, awaiting the bus. Mass Ave rather desolate, with only the occasional car whooshing by, the occasional truck.
As I waited, getting colder and colder, I would periodically check my phone to see what time it was–and imagined the pathetic image I made, a huddled figure intently regarding the tiny light, standing there in the dark and cold.

At some point, the dark began to fade into light–JUST like they do it on stage! A beautiful and hopeful effect. Only, not crowned by the arrival of the bus, as the brightening day seemed to promise. After 45 fruitless minutes, I turned around and trudged back home, noticing that my eager footsteps in the snow from my trip to the bus stop were almost obliterated by the subsequent snow.

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For some time, my car has been patiently but urgently indicating her need for service–that little yellow light saying Please Schedule an Expensive Visit to the Dealership.
It takes time but I have finally learned Car Warning LightSpeak, see chart below.
So that's what all the pretty lights mean! : ):
There is never a good time for this, and I have been ignoring it for a month and more. But this weekend I was accomplishing all the chores! So I stopped by my local garage and asked if I could bring in my dear little Mini on Monday morning. The youthful lout who lolls about the garage on the weekend gave me to understand that this would be fine, so this morning I drove there, and entered the office to drop off the keys.

AH.
The grim gent who actually knows what is going on told me that they have a problem with Minis–too complicated. Probably I would need to take it to the dealership. Sigh. However, I had to leave it there as planned, I told him–please do what you can–and I walked over to the bus stop, got on my usual bus which stops RIGHT by the garage, and headed off to work.
It turned out they COULD fix the car after all. HUZZA!
So after work I got on the train, ready to make rendez-vous with Mrs. Mini.
Except of course, the train was late so I missed the bus. And foolishly took the other, wrong bus which drops me off a good half a mile from the garage. Which I tramped in the dark and cold, FINE, need the exercise, don’t you know. But when I was still a good way off, I saw the bus that I should have waited for, the one that stops RIGHT BY the garage–whisking past me as I trudged up the hill.
We are playthings for the gods, comrades.
However, I am pleased to report that the garage managed to fix whatever was making the engine light go on–well, either they fixed it or they removed the light bulb.
Which is to say, FIXED.

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