dispatch from wheaton

How Not to Make the Case for Metro

(By Carol Guzy -- The Washington Post)
Thursday, February 22, 2007

When things go well, there's nothing as convenient as a trip on Metro, but a reluctant companion and a missing cellphone can cause a trip to derail.

A friend and I were riding back to Silver Spring on Metro. She normally does not take Metro and was not happy about it. While I extolled the virtues of Metro -- how easy it was to jump on the train in Dupont and relax in the seat as it whisked us back to the suburbs -- she frowned silently.

She wasn't buying it.

We missed the first train at the last second and spent fifteen minutes sitting on the cold bench on the platform waiting for the next one. The next train was packed. No relaxing as we rocketed across town squeezed against the back of the crowded train.

After Union Station, the crowd on our train started to thin out, and we found a seat together. Sharon was not pleased.

"We could have been back 30 minutes ago if we'd driven like I wanted to," she reminded me.

I pointed out the wonderful view to her, as the train climbed out onto the sunny elevated track. The CNN building outside Union Station, Rhode Island Avenue, the new condominiums in Takoma Park, and then finally Silver Spring.

The conductor warned us that Silver Spring would be the Last Stop. Our train was going out of service.

Everyone shuffled off the train. Sharon and I were among the last ones off, when I realized I'd left my cellphone on our seat.

"Sharon! My cellphone!" I yelped.

Sharon and I both jumped back on the train, as the conductor announced his last warning -- "Train out of service!" -- turning the lights out and snapping the doors shut, trapping Sharon and I inside the off-duty train.

Sharon and I ran to the door, but it was too late. Our former fellow passengers waiting on the platform for the next train continuing on to Glenmont, smiled in surprised amusement as they regarded Sharon and me under glass, pulling away from the station in the darkened train, our hands pressed against the window like prisoners.

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