But one major thing has changed: I live in the District now. I began this blog because I was living out in Silver Spring, MD, traveling an hour to work & encountering a series of bizarre experiences along the way: Memorable incidents include the time I thought my car was stolen and the time I was threatened with death. But I think this one, written only a few weeks into my post-Ohio life, really captures the full extent of my transportation misery. Enjoy.
Wednesday, August 29, 20077:43 a.m. --- I leave my house to drive to the bus station to catch the 7:51 bus.
7:47ish a.m. --- I double-check with a woman who's also waiting: "Does this bus go to Glenmont?" She tells me it does... so I wait.
7:51 a.m. --- The bus going the other direction has come & gone (with Directional Woman on board). I sit alone at the station with an Ethiopian woman dressed in a parking attendant uniform. No bus.
7:52 a.m. --- The garbage truck passes by, emitting a smell so nauseating that Ethiopian Attendant & I gag in tandem.
7:55 a.m. --- A white poodle pees on the side of the busstop sign in front of us. "Wow, we sure do have a great spot here," I joke. Ethiopian Attendant laughs. We strike up a conversation about the woes of public transportation. We have both been in D.C. for fewer than two weeks.
8:00 a.m. --- Still no bus.
8:05 a.m. --- Still no bus.
8:06 a.m. --- "I'm going to drive to the Metro station," I tell Ethiopian Attendant. Somewhat trepidatiously, I offer, "Do you want a ride?" She accepts, & we walk to my car as I think to myself, "Shit. I am about to be mugged & left for dead by a middle-aged immigrant woman wearing Velcro shoes."
8:15 a.m. --- I confide in Ethiopian Attendant (real name: Ganette) that I'm afraid someday I'll drive to the station only to find myself parking-spotless. And whaddaya know? The lot is, you guessed it, full.
8:16 a.m. --- Graciously, I drop Ganette off on the 5th floor of the parking structure so that she can catch a train. "Drive carefully," she tells me. "And thank you so much. Have a good day!" I mentally pat myself on the back: If I'm going to pick up a stranger, at least I chose one with good manners.
8:17 a.m. --- Panic sets in. No parking. I have, essentially, driven to the Metro station for the sole purpose of dropping off a stranger at the train station. I decide that karma probably owes me one.
8:18 a.m. --- I leave my mother a frantic voicemail, as though she can help me from Ohio. I ask two Metro policemen for directions, then promptly burst into tears. "Drive to Wheaton," one tells me."There are always spots there." His directions to Wheaton suck. I keep crying.
8:19 a.m. --- In succession, I leave voicemails for Becca & Jessie telling them I'll be late to work. In a last-ditch effort, I also call Ben, who answers... & I start crying again. I promptly feel like a toolbag, despite his niceness.
8:22 a.m. --- I am supposed to be at work in half an hour. My commute takes approximately 45. After making a couple more laps around the parking structure, I do the natural thing... and head home.
8:31 a.m. --- I arrive back at my original bus stop, where I've chosen to park my car & wait for the next bus. I realize that the 7:51 bus I'd been waiting for was actually scheduled to arrive at 8:08 - exactly two minutes after I hopped in my car to drive to Glenmont. I remind myself to look at the "Monday - Friday" schedule from now on, & not the "Sunday" schedule. But if I ever need a 7:51 a.m. ride to Glenmont on a Sunday, I now know such transportation exists.
8:36 a.m. --- Bus arrives, thankthefreakinglord.
8:45ish a.m. --- I finally (& angrily) board my em-effing train.
9:00 a.m. --- I am supposed to be at work. Instead, I'm somewhere near Takoma, listening to Eminem's "Slim Shady" on my iPod.
9:30 a.m. --- I arrive at the Dupont station.
9:33 a.m. --- I walk into my place of employment.
9:34 a.m. --- I reach into my purse & am struck by its emptiness. Astonished (& pissed), I realize why: My lunch is missing. Who the hell loses canned tuna & a butterscotch pudding? And more importantly - how??? I begin to wonder whether Ganette stole my home-packed meal.
____CUT TO EVENING____
9:07 p.m. --- After bowling & dinner with my coworkers, I board the redline Metro toward home.
9:50 p.m. --- And after an excruciating ride that forced me to listen to a fellow Ohioan (& recent D.C. transplant) tell his former Miami University frat brother about his swanky new job as a legislative assistant (whateverrrr), I arrive at my stop & literally sprint to the busstop upstairs, only to find that tonight's bus did, in fact, depart on time - at 9:47, a whopping three minutes ago.
9:51 p.m. --- I spend $12 to take a taxicab to my car, still parked five-ish miles away at this morning's busstop.
10:03 p.m. --- My canned tuna, butterscotch pudding & Capri Sun are sitting on the passenger's seat of my car, where they have apparently been all day. After all this, I am oddly comforted to realize that my hitchhiker didn't rob me of lunch.