I have a love/hate relationship with our local commuter Metro train system. I no longer need to worry about becoming a fugitive from the law for the murders I commit mentally while sitting in traffic in the morning. My support of 'OPEC' has diminished considerably. And lets not forget the fabulous people watching which public transit offers.
That's the love part.
I HATE having to live by someone else's time table. Especially the 7:05 AM Blue Line.
In a perfect world (the one where someone else packs my lunch and I actually enjoy getting up at the butt crack of dawn to do my workout prior) I prefer to catch the 7:05 Blue Line – it gets me to work early enough to grab a latte from my favorite Big Box Coffee Store. And because the Blue Line originates at my station I always get a seat by the window. This means no sharing a seat with that weird woman who looks like she is dead when she falls asleep or the guy who just got off the over night shift at McHeart Attack.
But the driver of the 7:05 AM blue line is evil. Really evil. On the list of Top Ten Most Evil Men* she would fall somewhere between Ayatollah Khomeini and Idi Amin. On the list of Top Ten Most Evil Women she would land firmly at Number One, placing her above a couple of queens, several Nazi groupies and two serial killers. Why this high distinction?
Let me present the evidence:
- She arrives early. (and by early, I mean she waits until I am exiting my car to slowly move her train from the staging area up to the platform.) ((Sure, at this point I could walk faster, or run but it is clearly 7:01. Just seconds after the 7:00 red line has departed. And as Seinfeld once said, "I choose not to run.")
- She begins announcing her departure the minute she stops at the platform. It goes something like this: Blue Line to Shrewsbury. Please Stand Clear. Doors Are Closing. But she announces if over and over. AND THEN she begins her count down.
- She COUNTS DOWN TO HER ACTUAL DEPARTURE. Like a mother counting down a misbehaving toddler. "This train will be leaving in ten seconds." At which the poor saps on the number 13 Caseyville/Maryville bus (which arrives at its appropriate time) must sprint from the bus stop, across the tracks, wave their validated ticket or pass at the security guy and dive through the doors as she once again threaten that the Doors Are Closing!
- She leaves at 7:05. Just like she is suppose to. (Which is apparently an option. See 7:18 Blue Line.)
I have witnessed this little power struggle every day. I have seen her begin to roll from the station only to stop, open the doors and chide a straggler to Please Take A Seat this Train is Leaving! I have even watched from MY seat as a poor woman runs to the tracks only to watch from the station side as the train pulls away, the driver tsk, tsk tsking the tardy rider and making her an example for the rest of us.**
Because of this behavior, I refuse to make any effort to catch the passive- aggressive Blue Line.
Which leaves me with the 7:12 Red Line and Game Show Announcer driver: Now Arriving at the Emerson Park Station! I will trade you what ever is in your lunch bag for the contents of the unattended backpack on the Alta Sita bus! (This is really hard to take so early in the morning, even in the next to last car where the speaker is suppose to be quieter.)
Or I can take the 7:18 Blue Line. It is the Grateful Deadhead, Washed Up Hippie Line. The train eases into the station anytime between 7:12:05 and 7:17:58; leaving somewhere around 7:18. Because, you know, leave a minute or two late? We can always catch it up on that down hill stretch between JJK and Emerson Park.
And it is like a crap shoot of train drivers. There is the Mumbler, who sounds as though he is just as sleepy as the passengers. The Tired Chick, who starts off perky but by the third stop is pretty much just announcing every third word: Alta Sita Bus...Yield seats to elderly...Jackie Joyner Kersee...or The Guy Who Never Knows Where the Hell He Is. One minute the train is Eastbound, the next it is West sometimes we are pulling into the station we just left and other times we are just On The Blue Line. Occasionally I am not sure he is even aware he is driving a train. But my all time favorite is The Barry White...who sings every stop in a deep, throaty voice and Yea, baby's the really nicely dressed riders.
It makes for an interesting commute. It gets me to work with five minutes to spare.
But it doesn't get me my Grande Latte.
*The Top Ten Most Evil Men is a real list. As is The Top Ten Most Evil Women, who thankfully were not as well know or as comical as the men.
**Sorry Cheryl...I really thought you were going to make it. And Sorry I waved as we rolled past. In retrospect that was just cruel.