Thursday, March 18, 2010

Once every 57 years

The doors rolled shut and I couldn't believe it. I was thunderstruck.

I had run down the escalator in the Metro station to the waiting subway car and then waited beside the door as my friend "hurried" down the escalator stairs herself. "Go on, get aboard, don't wait for me," she called out to me as she approached at what I charitably call "Washington DC speed" (as opposed to New York City speed).

The next train wasn't for 18 minutes. I waited on the platform's edge by the door while she came up to the still-open doorway. When she was right beside me, I stepped inside the car first.

The door immediately closed. She was outside and I was inside. This was an astonishing, immutable fact.

I had never before been shut off from any traveling companion by a closing train car door, not in 57 years of close calls on rail transport systems encompassing New York City, Long Island, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and Washington. It was an unbelievable feeling of helplessness.

Although I was only going to ride three stops with her before I transferred, I had been looking forward to spending that time with her. This had never happened to me before.

6 comments:

Black Knight said...

as we use to say "There is always a first time"......but this also means that you are fit and in perfect shape.

Kungpow12 said...

It's breathtaking how impersonal transit operators in DC and Baltimore are. The train operator can SEE people running to make the train, yet they shut the doors. It's not like another train was right behind them...the next train was coming in 18 minutes! Absurd.

Basically the same thing happened to me yesterday here in Baltimore (yes, we actually have a subway!). I heard the train pulling up as I entered the station, but my monthly pass wouldn't let me through the turnstiles. The booth operator looked annoyed when I asked her what I should do and she gave me a free ticket half-disgustingly. I ran down the escalator and just as I got to the door, it shut in my face. Couldn't believe it. I was 30 feet away from the train operator who was LOOKING BACK AT ME. They just turned and sounded the horn to depart. "Thanks! Appreciate it!" I yelled as the train left. Thankfully, Baltimore transit being what it is, I only had to wait 10 minutes for a "rapid" transit train.

Like you, that's never happened to me before in the cities on three continents in which I've lived.

Danielle said...

Did you see that video of the little kid in Portland who got separated from his dad like this? The poor thing! It was one of those heartwarming stories as the security camera showed this lady coming up to the kid and comforting him and hanging out with him until his dad could get on a train coming back.

Sunshine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunshine said...

In Minneapolis, years ago, a bus driver glared at me as I came running in the rain..
and he slammed the doors ON me.
Standing on the bottom step of the bus, I struggled from between the doors and confronted him. "Didn't see you," he grumbled.

I wish public transportation worked better.

Anne said...

I'm with Kungpow on the train operator being able to see you were boarding at the same time. He/She must have been eager to stick to the time schedule. This used to be my nightmare when my kids were younger and we took the T in Boston.