Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Sunshine's second day of teacher's workshops ended a little before one, so we drove to historical Alexandria for the first time. It's as thrilling, architecturally, as Savanna or Charleston, SC; and being twenty minutes from Georgetown possibly keeps frat occupation minimal. Besides looking at buildings, all I saw to do there was shop and eat. I had good, peppery manicotti at Pines of Florence. Then Sunshine dropped me at the King St. metro, well down the blue and yellow lines in the southeastern District area. I hit the platform as the yellow line train departed, but the blue line was what I'd been aiming for: up through Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery to join my regular route heading east (orange line), then north (red line), to Maryland. Today was another movie day. When the blue train arrived, I got in the first car. There were seven other people in it. But, as we made our way along the raised tracks to Pentagon City,* I started looking at the Metrorail map.* Today's trip, as I'd planned it, was going to take me through a marathon twenty-one stations. I only had about ninety minutes. If I'd gotten on the yellow line train originally, I could've shaved off several stops. So, deep underneath the Pentagon, I changed trains: leaving a blue car with twenty people in it, waiting seven minutes or so, and getting onto the next yellow car along: a car so crowded that I could only make it about four feet into the carriage. I was still in the first car, and as we moshed our way to Fort Totten, and the red line, I was able to look out the front window.** I think my new metro goal is to snag the front seat. It's a totally different experience. [Cavin]

Then, a 3 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

* Today's first scary metro event: on the blue line, between the Braddock Road and Washington National Airport Stations, the track is elevated nearly five stories off the ground. I was intently scrutinizing the Metrorail System map when I noticed that the conductor had slowed the train to a crawl. Also, the train was listing well to the right. I was sitting on the right. The rail line was veering mildly to the left. I could look out the windows and see down over the woefully inadequate metal guardrail into the piney gulch below us. The other seven people in the car looked bored, but I had to stand up and go to the other side of the train. I tell you it was tilted twenty degrees off the side of the track; or at least that's how it seemed. Eventually we sped up again and everything was fine. But I got off the line pretty soon after that. Does this always happen? It was spooky.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 1:11:00 PM  
To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

* Today's second scary metro event: the yellow line had been a crush of people, so many that more couldn't fit into the car, from Pentagon Station; but just about everyone got off at the U Street stop. After that point I could choose my seat, so I took the very front to continue looking out the window at the bizarre subterranean tunnel system illuminated in the car's headlights. Just before reaching Columbia Heights Station the conductor started rhythmically bleating the horn and we slowed down. Then we actually crossed onto the other track--on the oncoming side. As we neared the Columbia Heights platform on the left-hand side, we continued bleating. I could see the southbound train's headlights just a couple hundred feet up the tracks, coming right at me. As our train whizzed into the station, while it was still moving, the conductor yelled the following heartening sentence out the right-hand window at the top of her lungs: "Make the announcement, my radio's dead!" Then we stopped, she blinked the overhead lights a few times, and got out of the train. Every one else did, too. Presto, my northbound train became a southbound train just like that, and I had to wait another six minutes on the other side of the platform to continue north.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 1:14:00 PM  
To which Blogger Ellie added:

I don't know anything about subway systems, or trains, or radios for that matter, but that does not sound right. I am pretty sure you almost died twice yesterday. Start taking cabs.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 7:39:00 PM  

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