Friday's commute to work took me two hours, thanks to the aftereffects of the recent twin blizzards which had kept the federal government closed since Monday. Mostly I walked in the roadways to the nearest open Metro station (all above-ground stations were closed when the system opened), which was open, a few miles away. I shared the single plowed lane in each direction with cars.
Curse on you folks who actually shovel your sidewalk but don't clear a path through the snow bank at the end of the walkway to the street, leaving pedestrians to precariously climb over a towering, jagged snow wall at the end of the block. My journey on the frozen, rutted surface while jogging down traffic lanes as passing traffic threw up salt-laden road spray has caused the tendinitis in my tender ankle, which has prevented me from running for the past four months, to flare up again.
Metro had a derailment as well, slightly injuring three patrons and snarling the already overtaxed system. Metro is the deadliest mass transit system in the U.S. with a horrible safety record as its infrastructure inexorably deteriorates thanks to aging and neglect.
When I returned from work all of the stations had been restored to service but there were tremendous crowds in the system because it was so slow with such long waits between trains. I couldn't board the first train due to overcrowding but I got on the second train that came by, barely. Two stops later, as yet more people wedged aboard, I seriously wondered if it was possible to suffocate in so overcrowded a car as a crush of entering people forced me against an upright pole in a breathtaking press. I kept reminding myself that I am not claustrophobic as I tried to keep my diaphragm constantly filled with the stank air.
More snow is expected Monday and the federal government has already announced that it will be closed.