Democracy Dies in Darkness

Express

For one couple, meeting up on Metro is their little thing. Single-tracking complicates that.

August 16, 2018 at 7:46 PM

Yuri Borovsky, left, and Colleen Borovsky, wait at the Morgan Boulevard Station during their morning commute on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Jason Hornick/For Express/)

The crush of people waiting for trains at McPherson Square Metro station seems an unlikely place to find love in the air.

But Colleen Borovsky and her husband, Yuri, have a little routine.

Yuri, 33, texts ahead to Colleen at McPherson as he gets on a train at Farragut West to tell her which car he’s in. Some days his text will say “5 of 6,” as in the fifth of six cars. Other times he’ll text the car number.

Certainly, part of what Colleen, 29, liked when she met Yuri at the National Portrait Gallery after meeting online five years ago was that he’s handsome. Slim and over 6 feet tall, he has a slight Russian accent, too.

But Colleen, who’s from Buffalo and, like her husband, works in international development, says she liked that he talked, and did so without the encouragement of alcohol.

He’d been on a trip to Japan before that first date, so he told her all about how the Japanese fold their underwear into small triangles like origami to fit into small dressers.

“Who talks about that on a first date?” Yuri said as the pair rode the Silver Line home together Tuesday afternoon.

But sometimes, Colleen said, giving her husband a look of reassurance and a touch of guilt, she just wants a little quiet when they get home. She’s found that if they talk through the day’s events during the usual 40-minute ride to Morgan Boulevard, Yuri will leave her in peace while she makes dinner.

And so, finding each other on Metro each evening is their little thing

The Borovskys plan it so they can find each other and ride home together from McPherson Square. (Jason Hornick/For Express/)

The single-tracking that began last Saturday, as Metro rebuilds the Orange, Silver and Blue Line tracks between the McPherson Square and Smithsonian stations, is taking a toll on a lot of people’s routines.

With trains coming less frequently and running more slowly, it’s meant longer commutes and frustrating waits.

Some on the trains this week said the delays have made them late for work. James Hutchinson feels guilty that the hour it’s now taking him to get home means his cats, who have been alone all day, have to wait for him 40 minutes longer than usual. Others are getting up earlier for work and missing their sleep.

It has meant more stress for Yuri and Colleen, too.

As it happened, an Orange Line train arrived at Farragut West before a Silver Line train on Tuesday, which meant a change in the routine. The Orange Line veers off at Stadium-Armory, away from Morgan Boulevard. So Yuri had to get off his Orange Line train at McPherson, find Colleen, and switch to the Silver Line.

As he got off, he encountered a swirl of people on the platform.

“I don’t know how this is going to go,” he said, but he called out in relief when he saw his wife by a garbage can: “Colleen!”

The thing is, Yuri had a chance to avoid a week of this mess.

A couple of weeks ago, he was handed one of those pamphlets about the upcoming track work. He took it to his boss and pleaded for a week off. Being an Orange Line rider as well, his boss relented. But Colleen, having been at her job only three months, couldn’t get the time off.

There are some husbands who’d say, “Sorry, honey. Good luck on your commute.”

But Yuri opted out of taking the vacation so he can use the time when he and Colleen can do something together.

He chose her, in other words, over avoiding track work.

That’s true love.

Got a question or a story to share? Contact DC Rider at kery.murakami@washpost.com or at @theDCrider.

Read more DC Rider:

Alexandria businesses are bracing for a summer without Metro

‘Get out of my bus lane’: Dedicated route for shuttles is welcomed — if not fully enforced

Repairs at Rhode Island Avenue station are keeping neighbors up at night


Kery Murakami is a reporter focusing on feature stories about those who ride and work in the Metro system. He also serves as an advocate to get the transit system to answer questions and deal with concerns raised by its customers.

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