inauguralThe past two weeks of commuting have been truly worthy of the title “Commute from Hell”. Last week it rained. A Lot. That combined with people either moving into the area, people coming to the Inaugural, the general bad driving of Maryland Commuters or Inaugural hysteria has tacked on an hour to two hours onto my commute per day! I don’t know if JFK’s Inaugural or Ronald Reagan’s first Inaugural had people whipped up in such a frenzy but I can say from Reagan’s 2nd Inaugural to Bush 43’s 2nd, I haven’t seen an Inauguration cause this much excitement.

Because it was raining most of last week the outside escalators at metro stations were not working. I sincerely hope that it doesn’t rain on January 20th!!

This week ridership on the commuter bus has definitely increased. I’m not sure if its due to people taking the bus instead of fighting the pre-Inaugural traffic or they have figured out that commuting by bus they save a lot of money and aggravation (not to mention it’s much better for the environment). I guess I won’t know the answer to that until the end of next week-if not later.

I got to my commuter bus stop about 20 minutes earlier than usual this morning. It was very cold! I saw Miss Piggy (again wearing sneakers) and Well Groomed at the commuter bus stop. I hadn’t seen them for awhile.
They must be taking the earlier bus to compensate in the lag time caused by traffic back-ups. Jaunty and Nazi guy are still taking the bus at their regular times. Yesterday Jaunty wore a black and white tweed coat topped off with a jolly red scarf! Nazi Guy is sporting a new pair of state of the art head phones. Last week I saw Lush but fortunately the bus came soon after I got to the stop so I didn’t have to witness any of his tirades.

Last night, as I was coming home on the bus, I heard a conversation between two men trying to out feign apathy about the Inaugural. This consisted of them comparing how long they worked in the District, what federal buildings they’ve worked in, familiarity with Secret Service agents, how much security was was in their buildings…fortunately I fell asleep before they finished their pissing contest

On the bus ride in today I could see on the Mall and along Pennsylvania Avenue reviewing stands, flags draped over buildings, seats and outdoor stages being set up in preparation for the Inaugural. I know I use this blog to gripe about my commute from hell (and most times its a well deserved gripe) but in times like these or when I see the Capital Building back dropped by a baby blue sky in the morning or illuminated at night, I can’t help but be in awe. I have a ring side seat to the the center of Government and a witness to history. I am at the heart of a peaceful and celebratory transfer of power and I couldn’t feel more special and priviliged to be here.

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.