Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 2 – It Can Happen To You Too (Part 2)

Part 2

My meeting ended earlier than I expected and now it’s time for me to head home. Based on the trials and tribulations I endured trying to get here, you would think that I learned my lesson. I’m sorry to say that wasn’t the case. NOPE! I arrived at the platform and the electronic sign stated that the train would arrive in 3 minutes. Wow, perfect timing is what I thought. Trying to kill those 3 minutes, I did what any normal person living in the year 2010 would do; I got on my cell phone. As the train approached, I quickly ended my call and positioned myself at my preferred section of the train. I jumped on the train and sat down by my favorite window seat. As we ride along, I started noticing a few things. I started noticing that the train was rather packed from leaving the second station; I started noticing that it was taking rather long to get to the next stop; and I started noticing that I didn’t see the same landmarks I saw while going to the meeting. Uh oh! I’m going in the wrong direction! I was going to the end of the line which is deep, deep (did I mention deep) into the suburbs. After realizing all of this, I just had to sit there and say “not again!” I arrived at the end of the line and stood in disbelief of what I did.

Looking around and seeing everyone I was on the train with exit the station, I yelled out “(beaver) dam(n) it! I feel like a tourist”.

This story does have a good ending. The train that I was supposed to catch was leaving out in 5 minutes. At this moment, I realized that it was impossible for me to get on the wrong train. Since this was the end of the line, all of the trains leaving out are going in the direction of where I needed to go. A few minutes later, I hopped on the train and was on my way. The whole ride home I couldn’t believe the rookie mistakes I made today.

Well, this is my stop. See you next time on the train.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 2 - It Can Happen To You Too (Part 1)

When the idea to start this blog entered my mind, its sole purpose was for me to share the peculiar things I would see while commuting. I wasn’t going to share things that happened to me because, well, I didn’t want to be clowned. But after doing some soul searching and realizing that I didn’t want to cheat my readers, I decided to share my own shortfalls during my commute. So here goes…

Earlier this week I had an important meeting during the middle of the day that I could not miss (trust me…I tried to reschedule or just not go at all). Before the meeting, I was presented with a packet of reading material which contained directions to the location by driving or taking the train. I decided to take the train so I wouldn’t have to worry about parking in a lot that would charge me $5.00 every 15 minutes or pay to park at a meter where a quarter only gets me 3 minutes. Since I have never been to this specific location, I read over the travel directions a countless number of times (which metro stop to get off and where to walk). This is where my journey begins. I get on the train and glanced at the map before sitting down just to confirm any doubts I had on which stop I needed to get off. While on the train, we are zipping from stop to stop. Since it was the middle of the day, there weren’t as many people entering and exiting the train thus allowing us minimal time at each stop.

Now lets pause right here. I should let you know that I’m aware of where I’m going. I have been in the general vicinity of my destination by both car and train but it has been a while since I don’t frequent that side of town often. So, this should be a walk in the park…not to mention, all I have to do is follow directions…RIGHT???

Now back to the story. Because I knew it was going to be a long ride, I started reading a book. As I approached the half mark of my trip, I realized it should be another 4 or 5stops which equates to about 10 or 12 minutes left on the train. WRONG! I felt like I was close, so I gathered my things, stood up, and straightened my clothes. As the train slowed down and eventually came to a halt, I positioned myself right by the doors so I can jump off and lightly jog up the escalator. As the doors opened, I realized that this was not my stop. Feeling a little embarrassed, I had to maintain my cool appearance so guess what I did? I poked my head out of the train like I was looking for someone. After the doors close I couldn’t just return to my seat. The other passengers would know what really happened. So I looked at the map like I was confirming where I should get off. Which seemed like 10 stops later, I finally got off of the train. I zipped through the turn style and then I noticed that this stop has two different exits. Not knowing what to do at the fork in the road, I decided to ask for help. After waiting for about 3 minutes as the station manager flirted with some out-of-towners, I inquired how to get to my destination. Check out the dialogue below.

Me: How do I get to building X?
Station Manager: I think you may have gotten off at the wrong stop.
Me: NO! My directions clearly tell me that this is the stop I should get off.
Station Manager: Well, I’m about 99% sure that this isn’t the stop, but let me check the computer. Although I am 99% sure, I like to be 100% sure.

(Do you all sense a little sarcasm from the station manager? I certainly did)

At this point I’m like this dude doesn’t know what he is talking about and I can’t waste precious minutes dealing with him. Now back to the conversation…

Station Manager: What’s the address of the building?
Me: 1234 Anywhere Street.

*the light bulb in my head came on at this very moment*

Me: Wait….which stop is this?
Station Manager: This is the X stop.
Me: Okay, I gotta go!

In realizing that I got off at the wrong stop, I quickly picked my face up off of the ground and ran back upstairs to the platform. In case you were wondering, I got off 1 stop too soon.

But the story doesn’t end here…stay tuned.

In case you were wondering, I made it to my meeting with minutes to spare.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 1 - See no evil (Pilot)

Before I begin, let me set the stage for you. It’s the beginning of the afternoon rush hour and all of the government workers, government contractors, and tourists are trying to get home. By the time I got on the train, there are a good number of seats remaining. As we travel from stop to stop, the train steadily fills up with passengers eager to arrive to their next destination. As the train door opens at a major station, a few people exit the train as twice as many enter. This is where the story begins: a blind man gets on the train. But this isn't your typical quiet, docile, and focused blind individual with a guiding stick.

Before I noticed our latest passenger, I hear a commotion in the middle of the train car (I am sitting in the front of the train car). At first I thought it could have been one of the three reasons below:
  • someone was complaining that the doors closed on their body part
  • someone fussing because people would not make room for them to enter the train
  • simply just some bad a** kids

This gentleman gets on an already crowded train ranting and raving. I look up and it’s a blind guy causing the entire ruckus. He is screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs. Here are a few of the things he screamed:
  • its too crowded
  • get outta my way
  • and some other sounds that I couldn't make out because it sounded like gibberish

***This is where the thought entered my mind to share this experience with the rest of the world***

He is screaming and the people around him are terrified and don't know what to do or how to respond to his outbursts. As he makes his way from the middle of the car to the front, the crowded train parted like the Red Sea. You would have thought he was the modern day Charlton Heston with a wooden staff standing at the edge of the Red Sea. He gets to a specific part of the train and yells out "sitting down". Let me pause right here to inform you following:
  1. he is blind
  2. people were already sitting in the seat he wants

As another passenger tried to warn him that the seat is occupied, he yells "I can't sit sideways, I can't sit sideways". Apparently, he doesn't like the designated handicapped seats that face sideways on trains. So out of fear and embarrassment, a lady and gentleman jumps out the seats he is requesting and let's him sit down. As soon as he sat down and the train started to move he became quiet and I think I even saw a smirk on his face.

Should I laugh? I must admit that I did smirk for a second, but then I realized what I was doing.

Well, this is my stop. See you next time on the train.