Three Straight Days of Metro Exhaustion

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The people in Washington, D.C., are permanently exhausted. This is especially apparent on public transportation, which many commuters take as an opportunity to get some quick shut-eye. On any given Metro ride, especially early in the morning, everyone from the businessmen to the schoolchildren has their heads down, relishing the short window of time before they have to begin the daily grind... & perhaps cursing the long commutes that keep them from staying in bed a few minutes longer in the first place.

This week, I had three experiences with big-city fatigue:

Day One -- Absent-Minded Monday

  • I never listen to my iPod on mornings when I'm really tired because I quickly discovered that if I start to doze off on the Metro ride, my headphones (I eschew the use of "earbuds") keep me from hearing the driver's announcements.

    On Monday, it doesn't matter. Even sans music, I not only "doze off" but straight-up pass out. When I wake up - groggy, confused & with my contacts suctioned to my eyeballs - the train doors are closing on the Tenleytown/AU stop... which is a whopping four stops past mine. I hop off at Friendship Heights, five stops past, & promptly turn around to travel back down the redline.

    I am an idiot.

Day Two -- Tuckered-Out Tuesday

  • The next day, I try to accommodate my apparent need of sleep by napping in my car before work. I typically drive to the Metro around 7a.m. to get a spot at the parking deck, even though this means I arrive at work about 45 minutes early. So I figure I'll nap in my car after I park, then jump on the Metro around 8a.m., which would get me in to work right on time. Ghetto, yes, but a girl's gotta snag beauty sleep where she can get it.

    I fall asleep in my car, as planned... & sleep through my alarm. In my car. When I wake up - groggy, confused & with my contacts suctioned to my eyeballs - it's nearly 8:25. To top it off, the train stalls for 10 minutes, & I am 15 minutes late to work.

Day Three -- Thankful Thursday

  • On my way home from work, I spy this guy asleep on the redline to Glenmont, his mouth wide open, not flinching at all when the stops are announced.

    Yeah, he's out. When we get to Forest Glen, he jolts awake, looking around frantically & sort of panting in worry.

    "Forest Glen," I call over to him - we're the only two people left on the train.

    "Was I snoring?" he asks. I assure him that he wasn't, feeling a little bit guilty for having just taken his picture.

    "I would've woken you up when we got to Glenmont," I promise. He thanks me profusely, then puts his head back down until our stop comes.

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