“The time is 6:15pm, it is June 25, 2013 and you are riding your red line Metro train to Shady Grove.” – Metro driver #1, Monday.
NO ONE ASKED.
“Still waiting to receive speed commands folks, still waiting.” – Metro driver #2, Tuesday.
“Ladies and gentlemen please move to the center of the car and use all available space in each car, if I cannot close the doors, this train will be off loaded.” –Metro driver #3, Wednesday.
“No pole dancing, ladies!” –tourists on the Metro, Thursday.
Friday: It’s been a tense 15 minutes of standstill, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’m going to be stranded on this metro car. Will I have to band together with that man sitting across from me picking at his fingernails? Or the woman reading her romance novel? What if I have to go to the bathroom? Where are the emergency exits again?
I let out a sigh of relief as my heart rate drops back to normal. I can feel the train moving forward. Crisis averted… for now, that is. Some version of these thoughts swirl through my head at least once a week on my commute to my internship. It’s times like these that I realize how much I miss the T.
Not only does the D.C. Metro have constant mechanical problems but it is incredibly official in how it looks and how it operates. If the doors close, and any limbs are anywhere in the vicinity, too bad! The doors don’t bounce open when touched like elevators doors – and subway doors everywhere. This makes the Metro rather sub-human since it cannot sense the presence of a struggling human being.
Now, the T – nothing frightening there. The doors don’t scare anyone except when they open only at the front of the car, and you’re at the other end, frightened you won’t get off in time. But there’s nothing down right menacing about those doors. You don’t have to worry about getting your arm bruised as you do with the evil D.C. Metro doors. I once saw a woman’s purse get stuck between them and I believe she had the force of God within her to pull it out from the creature’s clutches.
Lights along the edge of the platform blink when a Metro train is arriving, as if they’re counting down to some sort of impending doom. In Boston, by contrast, a pleasant little ding of a bell lets you know the T is coming to get ya’.
The T couldn’t be cuter as it winds and creaks around the heart of Boston. Those parts in the middle remind me of an accordion, contracting and retracting. The T has character and life. The Metro looks like a boring, ordinary train car – nothing aesthetically pleasing about it
On the T, an automated voice tells you which stop is next, so you don’t have to suffer through various Metro conductor personalities, like those who won’t stop talking for two seconds. All I want is a moment to myself after a long day’s work.
Sure, Metro posts the wait times for the next train and it might be convenient to know that. But, there’s something nice about not knowing. So much of life is scheduled, am I right? When you’re waiting for the T, you’re waiting unaware when the next one might show up. The T takes life as it comes. Can somebody tell me what’s wrong with that?
Photos by Katie Levingston/Gavel Media.