busI decided to take advantage of the commuter bus and metro to get to the airport as I embarked on my “trip from hell”.   My husband dropped me off  at the commuter bus stop. I had my backpack and a piece of luggage that was pretty large but since so many people took off this week I thought I could catch a break and get a seat to myself.  I took a seat near the front since I had so much stuff to carry.  Sure enough, even though there were many other open seats on the bus, someone HAD to sit next to me which meant my luggage had to go in the aisle while the bus was in motion and then onto my lap as we got into town and people started exiting the bus.  So I had my backpack, the luggage, my purse and it was a little crowded.  The person that HAD to sit next to me started to bitch and moan about not having any room and I just said, “oh well”.  She then let loose with a string of expletives and I started to laugh which made her all the madder!  Too bad!

You know there were countless times when I have had to deal with people so huge they took up two seats or they were carrying a lot of stuff and took up two seats but I figure, “hey, that’s part of the crap you have to deal with when you take the commute from hell”, and I gave them some slack.  So I really didn’t have much sympathy for this person.

Miss Piggy (actually wearing sneakers and not sandals or flats!) was on the bus and took a front row seat (of course) but the bus driver was not much of a talker.  BUSTED!!

Naturally the escalator at Metro Center was out so I had to walk down to the metro platform.  From then on things went pretty smoothly.  The metro wasn’t crowded and I checked in my luggage very early.  Since I was wearing a corduroy shirt over a t-shirt I had to be padded down by airport security.  That was my thrill for the day.  I sat and read a book until my flight started boarding.  Once seated I found the person sitting next to me was some “young dude” who was wearing jeans with the knees cut out.  Why bother with the jeans? Why not just wear shorts?  I guess that was his idea of “winter apparel”.

The flight was smooth and it was fun watching DC and FL from the air.  The Potomac looks huge from the air!

There was some family drama but no “incidents” yet–however there is huge
potential in the days ahead so stay tuned!

Rain again. The weather conditions caused the usual brain cramp on the roads which caused backups and buses to be late. When I got to my commuter bus stop the line was in a large coil underneath the shelter so that everyone stayed dry. When I got there I saw Tubby (wearing a light rain coat) and Jaunty (camels hair coat) joined the line not long after I did. Let me explain “The Line” rules ( the line is the order in which people get on the bus).

lineLine Rules

  • There is NO excuse for cutting in the line. This includes saving a place for friends. If this rule is violated it is possible the violator would experience bodily harm by the violatees. Exception: if you want to grab a smoke you can put your backpack/sack/purse down on the ground in your place until you get back.
  • The line rules are NEVER explained to new comers. This is not problematic except times when a new bus stop is added in town. In cases such as this it is more than likely a rider would not know the beginning of the line from the end. If a person dares step in the wrong end of the line he or she is subject to jeers, threats, mean looks, shouts, an occasional “oh no she didn’t” and a black stain will forever be etched in the memories of the other riders about you (until someone else “disrespects” the line). I’ve seen this and believe me its NOT pretty!
  • If you are in town and the bus is prevented from stopping at the designated location because another bus or metro bus is in that spot or traffic is backed up, those in the line must RESPECT the rules and let those in front of them go first. If that rule isn’t followed see above for possible recriminations.

I have seen people break into a trot when vying for a choice “spot” in THE LINE. Honestly! Once at Metro Center a woman spied me on her way towards “THE LINE” and ran past me which was kind of funny because she was wearing high heels.

I managed to get on the 7:10 bus but we ran into traffic so we lost time there. ALL of the escalators at Metro Center had outages, both outside and in. Luckily all the escalators were working at my designation stop.

The upshot was I left my home at 6:20am and got to work at 9:00pm.

I haven’t seen “well groomed” in awhile. I wonder if she got a new job or is on vacation.

rain176x220bThis evening I had the commute from hell–the wet version. Its been raining for two days. I got to my commuter bus stop at 5:40pm. One bus passed without stopping. This did not sit well with the Carrie Nations who immediately got out their cell phones and complained. Lush was also there and complained profusely between cigarettes. We waited and waited in the rain (the temperature dropped throughout the day. It was 54 F when I left my house this morning and by the time I got to the bus stop it was 39 F so we were wet and cold). The Carrie Nations called two more times thinking this would speed up traffic. Alas, it did not. Traffic was snarled in all directions because the DC metropolitan area was having its usual traffic brain cramp that occurs when it rains,threatens to rain, snows, or any other precipitation falls from the sky. A bus finally arrived at about 6:10pm. Our stop is next to a parking garage and Lush actually stepped in front of a car and prevented it from getting on to the street until we got on the bus. You’d have to be drunk to do something like that! DUH! When the bus driver opened the bus door one of the Carrie Nations demanded that we get free rides because of poor service. The poor haggard bus driver agreed because he had his hands full just weaving through the traffic. I can’t deny I wasn’t happy about the free ride though! It took us 25 minutes just to clear town.

The upshot is I left work at 5:10pm and got home at 8:00pm.

edited to add: 12/12/2008

When I left for work this morning it was still drizzling but when the bus got into town it had stopped drizzling and the sun was out (of course ,because of the initial precipitation, we ran into traffic)! At the commuter bus stop there was a pretty long line for the bus. When the bus arrived it was driven by a driver not approved by the “regulars” so about six got out of line to wait for the next bus and an “approved” bus driver. I’ll never understand that. They wait outside in the cold and rain for a bus driver that will get them into town the same time as the “un-approved” driver (who would be running about 10 minutes late) when they could be on a warm bus sleeping!

The escalators at Metro Center were fine but when I got to the platform there was a back up and the crowd was three deep. I managed to get on a train three minutes later.

When I got off my train one escalator was broken at the station (there was a sign that it should be good to go by 12/15…right) so there was only one escalator for people to go up and down so naturally there was a back-up of people exiting the trains.

The upshot is I left for work at 6:30am and arrived at work at 8:45am.

I am reading a trashy biography by Kitty Kelley about the Bush familybush entitled: The Family. I’ll let you know if I like it or not in future posts.

When the alarm went off it was hard to get out of bed. Ophelia was stuck to me like velcro so I spent anop3-11 extra five minutes snuggling with her and listening to her purr and then I faced the inevitable and got out of bed. By the time I got dressed and was packing up my stuff I noticed there was frost on my car! BRRRRR!

The trick to getting a good seat on the commuter bus

Today I had the perfect conditions needed for a good bus seat. These conditions MUST BE PRESENT in order to achieve the goal.

One bus was pulling out of the parking lot just as I was pulling in. By the time I got to the line (the line and the rules that pertain to it will be addressed in another post) there were only two people in front of me. Either the bus that was leaving when I arrived was late or the bus that pulled up about five minutes later was early because there was only about 10 people in line. When you get on the bus you can ascertain your course of action. If the bus is crowded I take an aisle seat nearest to the front. I do this for several reasons:

-I hate the window seats. I think they are too cold. In the summer you get blasted with air conditioning, in the winter cold from the outside creeps in.

-I like to choose who I sit with

-You aren’t boxed in so its not a brain cramp if the person who is sitting next to you gets off at a later stop than you do.

If the bus isn’t crowded and the line is only about 10-15 people chances are you can get a seat in the back to yourself

Today I had the latter choice!

Of course TWO escalators were out in the mid level of the metro. Grrr. Its not that I mind walking–its just with two not working that only left one down and one up on each side so each time a metro train arrives it floods the escalators and a line forms. If you’re running late that takes away minutes from your time.

One of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs: land of hope and dreams

Today I took a later bus. I got to the bus stop at about 7:00am and when I got in line I saw Jaunty (she was wearing a dark coat with a perky “Christmassy” pin. She didn’t wear a hat so as to not mar her perfectly coiffed hairdo) so I realized I missed the earlier bus that the “in” crowd won’t take because they don’t like the driver. The bus arrived with the acceptable driver about five minutes later. This bus is usually very crowded but amazingly I got a good seat. We hit traffic so I didn’t get to Metro Center until well after 8:00am. GRRR. My 60 minute bus ride was at least 70-75 minutes today. Almost all the escalators were traffic-jam-washington-dc-24working except for the MAIN one. There were a bunch of workmen testing it by trying to walk UP the thing. Don’t ask. As I was leaving my Metro stop I heard an announcement that the red line was delayed because of a sick passenger at one of the stations. When that happens they throw everyone off the train and then the now empty train “sits” until the emergency is resolved. They then have to “double track” (use only one side of the track) which clogs the trains and results in delays on both sides. Delays can be anywhere from 10 minutes to hours. I think normally I am a pretty kind person (ok maybe not–depending on who you talk to). But delays on the Metro causes my patience to wear thin and I start to think very un-Christian-like thoughts. When I have these godless pagan reactions to human tragedy I turn to Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian for spiritual guidance. Whew. Thanks Betty.

recession2So today it was announced on the Internets that we are Officially in a “Recession”. Counting back I realized this was the FOURTH recession in my lifetime. The first one was the recession/matched with inflation and energy crisis in the early ’70s. Then there was the early ’80s recession/inflation/energy crisis, massive unemployment (which happened to be about the time I joined the workforce. FUN!). The next one was in the early ’90s (its the economy stupid). That brings us up to now. This latest recession seems to be on par with the one in the early 80s (that one was severe). I don’t think its near “Great Depression” status—YET. However, this thing hasn’t bottomed out. I think its going to get a lot worse before it starts to get any better. Hopefully I’ll be able to hang onto my job and house. They already put on a hiring freeze where I work.

I have added some links about the Inaugural (look to your right). Be warned! They are expecting up to FOUR million people to descend on DC to attend this thing. There is talk of movie screens being put up in stadiums for people to “view” the Inaugural (Thus, to me, negating the experience) since there is not enough room for them on the streets. They aren’t sure whether they can accommodate parking for buses let alone cars. Lodging will be scarce. Plus you will have to wait hours out of doors even if you have tickets. Its cold here in January. If you plan on attending start making arrangements now and buy some thermal underwear. I plan to watch it at home on the sofa snuggled up with my kitty and a hot cup o’ joe.

In honor of the Inaugural lets take a look at an Inaugural Address that is possibly the best one of the 20th century

Bruce Springsteen is debuting his new single Lucky Day today!

You can see it on his myspace page as well as get information on his new album Working on a Dream

escalators1I am so sorry that I have been derelict in my duty and not posted for awhile. I admit I was caught up in the election and became a news junkie. All day long I read blogs and dialed up the polls. At night I watched news show after news show. I followed every trend, obsessed over CNN’s audience reaction lines during the debates, mulled over each Hail Mary pass and basically fretted until Election Day. On Election Day I volunteered at the polls and this year I was a precinct captain! That sounds important but what it meant was that every few hours I had to go in and check the counts (number of voters in each party). We had to do this because Maryland went paperless in 2004 and installed those stupid Diebold touchscreen voting machines which left no paper trail. Thankfully this is the last year for the Diebold because Maryland is going back to paper ballots. So, this election is over and my duties as a citizen are over until 2010.

The sorry state of the economy has reached the MTA. The commuter buses no longer run on Federal Holidays. There is talk of a massive price hike.

This morning I rode in with Well Groomed, Miss Piggy and Tubby. They all sat in separate seats! The bus was on time and the ride uneventful. I bought today’s Washington Post when I got off the bus. Half the escalators weren’t working at Metro Center, and there was a workman blocking the one that DID work on the mid-level. Sheesh.

In honor of Election Day and Thanksgiving: Stephen Colbert and NY Congressman John Hall sing the Star Spangled Banner.