In honor of our one true hero, Jack Bauer, I introduce this only with these words:
“The following takes place between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Events occur in real time.”
5:17 p.m. McPherson Square: Orange car crushing under its own weight. Fortunately, a blue comes along two minutes later, much less full. I board the third of eight cars and am relatively sure I’m the only local. I am one of two or three not wearing an Obama hat. Weird looking guy across from me asks, “Do you liiiiiiive here?” I said yes, which will be my downfall the next 24 hours. He asks me where he should eat dinner. I recommend Gordon Biersch across from the Spy Museum because I liked it. Gut feeling says I should have suggested Fuddruckers.
5:20 p.m. Metro Center: About 10 people get on the train wearing the same shirts. Someone is stuck in my door. We offload, I get arrested. Very helpful girl beside me directs weird guy to monuments. She’s a much better person than I am.
5:22 p.m. Federal Triangle: The first time on the trip the Metro driver says, “Attention customers, Metro doors are not like elevator doors …” This does not bode well.
5:23 p.m. Smithsonian: Platform waiting is five deep. I found the tourists!! The lady in the fur coat across from me asks me where I’m from. I said I’m local. She says I don’t look local. Ouch. Not sure if this is a compliment or an “Oh, snap.”
5:25 p.m. L’enfant Plaza: My transfer to the green. Place as packed as on Nationals game days. I sprint for a waiting Greenbelt train nearly taking out a National Guardsman in the process. I think he asked me for my number.
5:27 p.m. underground between L’enfant and Archives: “We will be moving momentarily.” For once, it was honest.
5:28 p.m. Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter: Good sports bar off this stop. Contemplate going in to wash today’s anxiety away in wings, but opt to just go home and go to Ikea for hot dogs. Also, should I worry that there are five people in fatigues from the U.S. Public Health Service? Woof.
5:30 p.m. Gallery Place-Chinatown: Solo seat opens up! Score! Ah, that bit of joy lasted all of 11 seconds. I’ve noticed the farther away from the Mall, the more sparse the crowd.
5:31 p.m. underground between Gallery Place-Chinatown and Mt. Vernon Square-7th Street-Convention Center: “We will be moving momentarily.”
5: 33 p.m. Mt. Vernon Square-7th Street-Convention Center: Woman observes that “everybody in this town has one of those little BlackBerry things.” Yes. Yes we do. And I’m using it against you.
5:35 p.m. Shaw-Howard University: I am not kidding: “Is Howard where they filmed ‘A Different World’ back in the 90s? Didn’t one of the Cosby kids go there?” Thank you, White America.
5:36 p.m. U Street-African American Civil War Memorial-Cardozo: For a minute, I thought Spencer Pratt got on the train. Then I realized I didn’t smell vinegar and water and he wasn’t accompanied by his witless partner Heidi. They wouldn’t roll public transportation anyway. Douchemobile away!!
5:39 p.m. Columbia Heights: I feel bad for the woman trying to wrangle six kids off the train. I will feel worse for her tomorrow at the first signs of “Mooooooooom!! I have to peeeeeeeeeeee!!!!”
5:41 p.m. Georgia Avenue-Petworth: The people across from me are looking for IHOP. College Park baby!! Welcome to MY town!
5:45 Fort Totten: It would figure that when I need a signal at Fort Totten, I’m hosed. I also just noticed a poster for Crystal Couture at Crystal City in Arlington. It reads that Feb 17 is “Tat-Tuesday.” COUNT ME IN!! Let’s celebrate six days past your 30th right!!
5:48 p.m. West Hyattsville: No signal again, which means with certainty I will stand and wait at Greenbelt freezing my ass off. Thank you AT&T for raising that bar. I salute you.
5:49 p.m. Prince George’s Plaza: My two second call home is probably not going to get me picked up on time. Boo. I’m also envious of the body this hippie’s hair has. Dudes should not have better hair than I do. It’s not fair.
5:54 College Park-University of Maryland: Locks of Envy has disembarked. I have nothing to admire on the train anymore. I am perplexed, however, at the guy with the Phillies hat OVER his red dew rag. An interesting, yet risky, choice. Not sure what’s to be gained by a layer of thin cotton. Sitting to my front is a woman wearing — I counted — 11 Obama buttons. I’m impressed at the range of Obama button options. Clearly, another wasted opportunity of my graphic design/Photoshop skills.
5:58 Greenbelt, your last and final station on the Green Line: Doesn’t the fact that it’s last, by default, make it the final and, … HOLY HELL!!
After it took me 10 minutes to actually EXIT the station, I am faced with the sinking, sinking feeling that I have no choice but to be here when these doors open at 3:30 a.m.
The line for Farecards is snaking down the bus area. There are 6 cops inside and as many outside but I figure they’re as about as effective as the Detroit Lions defensive line.
A bacon sandwich and some diet Mountain Dew later, I’m going to stick with the original plan, like my co-workers on the desk, of getting to my train between 5:30 and 6 a.m. I’ll definitely have my camera ready and I’ll document my adventure into town.
Good night. And could someone wish me some good luck?