June 28, 2010

the subway: my real life video game

So I am really bad at halo (but that's another story for another day)

however, sometimes my life DOES feel like a video game.

The other day, I had taken the metro a few stops away from work to meet a friend for lunch. No problem. I realized that I had stayed just a leeeetle bit longer than I was planning on, so I hurried back to the metro station.

I took the first escalator from the outside world to the first stop on the metro station empire. I looked at the electronic board and saw that my train was 1 minute away. 1 minute was perfect -- it meant enough time to swipe my card, go down the stairs, and then step onto the train.

I also noticed that the next train was 13 minutes down the track. So making the 1 minute train was kind of important.

This is where my life turned into a video game. Cue mario cart theme music. I swiped my smartrip. 50 points!

This was where the indomitable force of "the tourist" came into play. The tourist is someone who moves, generally in a large pack, who have no idea where they are going, and if they do, plan on taking all day to get there. I passed through the turnstile, and saw that the one escalator was taking passengers from the train platform ot the platform I was on, so i needed to go down the stairs. The happy tourist family was in front of me. There were five of them, exactly. I know, because this is a wide staircase. You can easily have 2 people going up and two people going down at once and there will only be a few elbow bumps.

This tourist family proceeded to walk 3 steps down the staircase, and then fan out so that they COMPLETELY BLOCKED THE ENTIRE STAIRCASE. I could see the light of the train in the tunnel. I waited patiently for a few seconds. Maybe they would decide to move. Wrong. They decided to read a map. On the staircase. All five of them. Still spread out so that I could not pass.

The train was pulling into the station. I contemplated trying to run down the "up" escalator. The soundtrack reached a slightly faster pitch. Finally, the dad noticed that I was standing there, and shoo'ed his family out of the way.

I was home free, as I skipped down the last few steps (yes, I did really skip, I promise.)

Oh, you have no idea what "Metro Obstacle Course: Return from the Abandoned Planet" has in store for you, foolish J. Because as I reach the bottom of the stairs, a man in a suit, on his cellphone waves his metro card at me and says frantically "excuse me lady, do you have 90 cents for an exit fare? I left my wallet in the office."

I look at him. I look at the train, who's doors have now opened. The theme song has now reached a frantic pitch. "Um, yes, I think I do." I unzip my wallet. People start walking out of the train. I hand him 75 cents. "I think I have another quarter in here somewhere. . ." People have started to board the train. As the "doors closing" chimes, I end up shaking the contents of my coinpurse into his hand--I knew it was at least a dollar. I think he said thanks--I was too busy crossing the last five feet of orange tile between me and the doors of the train. If I had not been wearing pearls and heels, I might have given some sort of tarzan-esque yell--as it was, I think that I just mouthed it.

With that final leap, the doors closed behind me, and I sunk down into one of the seats. J blogger: 1. Metro: 0. Until next time, my fair opponent.

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