Jan 9, 2008

I am livid

Warning! Angry rant ahead. Proceed reading at your own risk.

From now on, I am carrying eggs in my purse. One yoke for every fucking piece of shitty, smelly, bus material on four wheels that decides to pass me RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE STOP, while I waved frantically for the incompetent driver to slow his fat ass down, and he didn't so much as bat an eyelash at me (probably too busy scratching his butt to notice my angry shouts). FUCK THE N8! The most useless fucking route in the city. NEVER AGAIN. I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you die in a fire.

Besides the utter embarrassment I felt for 2 seconds, quickly to be replaced by rage, I called Metro prepared to curse them out. Of course, I made the mistake of asking to report a complaint, and they promptly put me on hold. I don't have the kind of anytime minutes that can be wasted on listening to shitty elevator music, so I hung up and took the damn train one stop to Tenley. Waiting for the AU shuttle (because I'm not stepping foot on another bus for the rest of the fucking day), I'm sure if I could transform into an X-men my eyes would be shooting red beams of destruction, protected only by my $10 sunglasses. If I wasn't wearing chunky snow boots (because Yahoo! weather lied to me and said it was supposed to rain), I would have walked the mile or so back to my office. I needed to blow off steam somehow, so I just glared until I could get to my computer and write an angry email to Metro.

Oh, did I mention that on my way down New Mexico Ave I saw the damn bus coming up the street? Best believe that I memorized the bus number (while glaring evil light at the driver) and included that in my complaint. I hope his stupid ass gets fired. I don't even give a shit, there is no excuse for not doing your fucking job.

Jan 8, 2008

New Year, New Fare Hike

Yesterday turned out to be a beautifully unusual Monday - 65 degrees in the middle of January. Sweet! Walking the 10 minute hike in heels, through the hood, to the Brookland station didn't seem as dreary. That is, until I went to check the balance of my smart benefits (those things are BOSS) and notice quite the, er, noticeable change in fare.

Because $2.15 wasn't enough to get to Tenleytown, I guess metro officials decided $2.60 was more reasonable for all the "residual" delays, track signal malfunctions, jammed doors, rush hour back ups, and the occasional worker carcass.

Shaking my head, I did like everyone else - mentally allowed an array of curse words to flood through my head as I tapped my smart trip and tripped up the escalator to catch the boarding train. The doors shut on my face and I step back, bumping into my friend who was two beats behind me. Looking around, I notice some familiar faces from the neighborhood, and random people I always see on the platform at this particular quarter hour.

The next train pulls into the station after four minutes, squeaking to a rough stop, and we politely wait for the high school kids to noisily "exit the train before boarding."

Please stand clear of the doors, thank you.

It's funny how I never see the same faces on the metro, ever. But I always end up running into people I know. More than thrice have I run into my classmates, and people who I'd really rather not see ever again. The faces that greeted me on Monday were the typical bland expressions of those who'd rather be anywhere but there. Most have their noses in an Express newspaper, or some other form of reading material. Others stare off blankly into space, their headphones emitting quiet static, or fiddle with their cell phones. I tried hard to see if I could recognize a single person from past commutes, but none of them were familiar, save the few who stood on the platform with me, and my friend dosing off next to me.

It really makes me think about how many different people come in and out of Washington.

The ride to T-town was uneventful and quiet, which is just the way I like my mornings when I have to be up at the ungodly hour of 7. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for the return trip at 5:30 pm, which apparently is the new prime time for tourists. I tried to concentrate on my chapter of mistreated, corn-fed cows but it was near impossible with bombarding voice of a southern father ranting about how on time he is, and "yup! wurr gon make it. Here's Cleveland Park, only five more stops, next is Woodly Park, we makin' good time, good thing we didnt' drive cause the beltway sure is a mess, didya hear 'bout that backup on 270?"

I'm sure I speak for myself and everyone on car 4 of the 5:35 pm train to Glenmont when I say that your ranting, twangy voice, oh southern tourist, is equal to a thousand pin needles poking hungrily at our eyeballs, into our brains, causing little pangs of intense pain.


K. Thnx. Bubye.

Dec 14, 2007


To the girl with the loud mouth,

I'm sorry my eyes kept drifting in your direction. Perhaps I didn't want to look out my window into darkness, and preferred to stare at something that just happened to be in my direct line of vision. Or maybe your incomprehensible babble repeatedly intercepted my daydreams, causing me to stare at you instead of someone else. Either way, I'm sorry for prompting you to make googly eyes at me, as if my stare was offending your personal bubble of 20 feet. I'm sorry that your girlfriend had to turn her head to shoot an unsubtle glance at me, because she too must have felt violated by my blank gaze.

To be honest, it really wasn't that serious. But hey, I'm the perpetrator. So please accept this letter as a full apology. I promise that if we were ever to meet on the Red line again, I will advert my eyes to stare at the elderly man across from you, who may not be as prone to childish reactions to strangers on the metro who only stare blankly because, you know, it's been a long day.



Dec 7, 2007

Winter madness

Ah, snow. Surely I am enjoying the blast freezing ice, the lack of salting major roads and sidewalks, delays, accidents, and broken ankles as my heels skid over rock salt.

This morning I was dosing on the metro, on my way to Tenley (T-town, as we like to call it up here). Nothing out of the usual, but this time my focus caught on the many wires inside the tunnel. As I stared outside my window as the train zoomed at 50 miles per hour, my eyes started to cross as I followed this particularly interesting yellow wire.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I always wondered where power lines go. It seems that no matter where I am, the power lines never seem to have a beginning or ending point. I mean, I know that they come from power stations, but from a short span it just seems that they go on forever.

You know what else I wonder? If people actually fall into the tracks more often than what's reported. Once in a while I'll hear about a Metro worker being run over on a late night shift, but what about the average commuter at Farragut North who just happens to slip and fall into the tracks? Does that ever happen?? And if it does, how come I'm never around to witness.

I feel like I'm missing out on something. Or maybe I just need to go back to sipping my Sbux mocha until I wake up.

Nov 20, 2007

Turkey bits for all

Dear television,

The Christmas jingles are really annoying. Can we get past Thanksgiving before we start tis-ing the season and lusting after that iPod Touch?

Oh, and the Redskins still suck.


So it's that time of the year to start packing up the cat and loading the car with empty Tupperware to collect free food, discount clothes, and hopefully some cash form sympathetic relatives. Now it's only a matter of time before I come into contact with a wall of red brake lights, for miles on end. And let's not get started on the gas prices - seriously, it's like they deliberately jacked up the prices just to cash in on the holiday rush.

As a daily commuter, I have spent many hours deliberating my route home from Washington DC to Philadelphia. For those of you who are not familiar with the Washington-Boston death trail, here are some tips and alternatives to take into consideration.

If you are driving, avoid I95 at all possible costs. If the tolls don't kill you first, it surely will be the constant construction sites (Delaware is in a constant state of jackhammer), and the numerous accidents that always happen on the NJ Turnpike turn-off. Instead of risking that beltway traffic, take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway northbound into Baltimore until you hit Baltimore's version of the beltway, 695. From there, jump on Route 1 and continue straight up. It's a bit out of the way, and you might hit a deer, but trust me the traffic lights are not a big delay when compared to the backup on the Interstate. Plus, you'll save 15% or more by not paying ridiculous toll fees.

If you do not own a car, and are looking for a fast way home, I grudgingly recommend taking Amtrak. I type this with a mental groan, because Amtrak is far from cheap. You're looking at a good $50 and up for a one way ticket. The train is pretty comfortable, but expect some delays, especially if you are traveling Southbound (for some reason, the damn train is ALWAYS delayed coming from Boston. ALWAYS.) The Acela is a nice alternative, if you can afford the $300 ticket. For Bostontonians traveling home from DC, I recommend flying. It's faster, and about the same price for a train ticket.

If you are broke as hell, and can't afford the train, never fear, for there are buses you can take. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT SUBJECT YOURSELF TO TAKING GREYHOUND! Not only does it smell like piss, you're forced to listen to screaming children, and that person sitting next to you might be a criminal on the run. Instead of self-torment for 40 bucks, why not try the Vamoose bus, which costs about the same, takes the same amount of time, and is ten times more comfortable. Another alternative is the Chinabus, but I can't vouch for that, since I've never taken one myself.

For those of you who despise any kind of public transportation, and are still too broke or license-less to own a car, I have another solution. There is this thing on Craigslist called Ride share, where you can find people traveling to the same destination who are willing to offer a ride for the small price of splitting gas, and providing good company. I've tried this service only once, in Berlin. It was pretty nice in terms of price, since I only had to chip in for gas, but on the way back my ride's car broke down, and we had to push the damn thing to the nearest gas station. I should have gotten a refund, but I'm getting slightly off topic. Ride shares are a great way to travel if you are low on cash and looking for an environment-friendly alternative. Plus, it's a great opportunity to meet new people (or an opportunity to meet some serious weirdos. Bring pepper spray, ladies). For the most part, Ride Share is safe, but if you are a bit nervous about being in a car with a complete stranger, bring a friend along. Safety in numbers, you know.

If none of my above suggestions help you out (or you live in a remote part of the country, where your only options of transportation are SUV and foot), then try calling up some long-lost relatives or friends who may let you hitchhike on their roof. Otherwise, maybe you should think about hosting dinner at your house next time. Then you can experience the joys of mile-long supermarket lines, and the tedious circling around parking lots, and getting pissed at the assholes who can't park in a straight line.

Enjoy your turkey (or whatever you people eat for thanksgiving). Travel safely, and if I happen to run into you on the road, I apologize in advance for cutting you off and throwing trash at your windshield.

Nov 14, 2007

Drama OMG

This morning on the dreaded N2 bus, a man was sitting next to me chatting loudly with a woman across the aisle. I could sense trouble from those two, and it didn't help that the woman gave me an unfriendly look as I sat down across from her on the vertical seats.

There we were riding along Massachusetts Avenue when this cough comes out of no where, and I start to choke. I covered my mouth as soon as I could, muttering a soft "excuse me" to the man in front of me, and consequently interrupting his conversation as he turned to fancy me with an annoyed look. He rolled his eyes, got up, and moved to the seat in front of his.

You'd think I was suffering from the Plague by the way he shuffled out of that seat, as if one little breath from my frozen lips would have sent him to the grave. I mean, what the hell? Are people not allowed to cough anymore? Did I miss the memo where coughing was bad manners on the fucking bus?

I was so enraged that this guy had to be so damn dramatic. MY GOD, THIS WOMAN COUGHED ON ME, I'M SUCH A PANSY THAT I HAVE TO MOVE 10 SEATS AWAY TO AVOID TEH SICKNESS!!

Sorry for the childish nature of this post but honestly dude, get over yourself!

Nov 12, 2007

Thursday Night is like the Warp Zone

Remember Warp Zone, from Mario Brothers? Like, old school Nintendo circa 1987? Du nu du nu du nu. I hated those fucking plant things that would trick you into thinking the tube was clear, but then pop out and kill your ass. Die in a fireball.

So my topic of the day is: Thursday late-night ~partying~

If you are a regular Metro rider, you’ll know the types of crowds that usually pile onto the 6-car train by the day of the week, and the time of the day. Metro has this 3 am rush hour fee that they like to impose on poor drunk souls during Friday and Saturday late nights. Probably to make up for all the money lost in lawsuits due to said drunken souls falling into tracks and hurting themselves. But last week I experienced something foreign and fascinating – the Thursday night crowd.

Thursdays is the worst day of the week. Arguably, you could say that Wednesday is the shittiest because it’s smack dead in the middle. But see, Thursday makes you want to kill something, because it’s like the teaser Friday: almost there, but not quite. Anyway, last Thursday I went out to happy hour and hookah with some friends in Adams Morgan. We took the Metro because a) parking in Adams Morgan is an illusion, and b) um, we were drinking. Hours later, on our way home, we witnessed an interesting site - drunken 20-somethings mingling with the late-night working/student crowd. It was like Jekyll and Hyde of the Red Line.

It was wild because you don’t usually see two things from opposite poles collide in the most gaudy of fashions. I didn’t know whether to be annoyed at the other drunks because it was a weekday, or to jump around and throw myself in the trash can with them because I was one of them. Only on Thursday can this bastard child of obscenity be created.

There really is no concluding point to this observation other than I think I enjoy the mindfuck of Thursday night partying. And the Redskins still suck.