Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nats/Metro Buzzkill
There are many things about having the Nats in Washington that give me great joy. High on that list is the beauty of going to a weeknight game. I work a full day, change into shorts and a shirt at about 6:00, and head to Metro. At rush-hour, the Orange Line, in the direction of the stadium, is much less crowded than in the direction of Virginia, which is the way I usually go after work. But on game days, I can walk two blocks to Farragut West and usually be able to not only board the first train that comes by, but actually get a seat. For the ten stops to RFK, I read or people watch or just relax, thinking about how much better this is than going to an O's game. Screw you, Peter Angelos.

I went to the game last night, and everything appeared to be going great, as usual. I got on a near-empty train, and got a seat by myself. At Metro Center, a pretty big group boards the train, and a normal-sized woman sits next to me. We get to the Smithsonian stop, and, as usual, there are a few tourists that board. Among that group yesterday was a family whose members were particularly large. They all found seats, no problem.

We get to L'Enfant Plaza, where my normal-sized seatmate gets off. At which point the mother of the tourist family gets up from her seat and comes and sits by me, who is probably the largest person on the train not related to her. When sitting next to someone on a Metro train, it's expected that there will be some thigh-to-thigh contact. This was a whole 'nuther level. Every part of the left side of my body was against, well, her butt. The right side of my body was smushed against the wall of the train. I started feeling like I was being crushed by some gravitational force. There was only one thing I could do: Get off at Federal Center and wait for the next train.

I did the universal signal indicating "I need to get off, and you'll have to move" -- gripping the back of the seat in front of me, which would also help me propel myself out of the eight inches of space I was crammed into. We get to Federal Center. I spring up. She looks at me: "Are you getting off here?" I say: "No, I just thought it would be even more uncomfortable if I stand up in this little bit of space for five more stops." No, I didn't say that. I said "Yeah." She allowed me to pass, and I jumped out of the train, on to an empty platform at Federal Center. I stood and waited for the next train.

Still beats the hell out of driving to Baltimore, no question.

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