Transportation Woes

18 06 2009
How do you get to work?

How do you get to work?

I am willing to bet that most of you commute to work.  Unless you’re one of those work-at-home types, and you can roll out of bed and straight to your computer, I’m sure you have had some interesting commutes.  Whether you drive, take the metro, pedal your bicycle, or, for the luckiest ones, walk to work, we have all had that morning where commuting just did not work out the way it should.  Tuesday was that morning for me. In fact, every single thing about the day’s transportation for me was a comedy of errors.

The morning commute

Since I was scheduled for the mid-shift at work, I got the chance to “sleep in.”   I woke up at 7:00 a.m., which felt like such a luxury, considering I am usually changing into my uniform by 7:00 a.m. to be on at 7:30.  Mid-shift starts at 10:00 a.m.   So I got up, made breakfast and coffee (an addiction that causes headaches if I do not start my day with some caffeine) and got in the car.  It’s a 15-minute drive to the metro: Branch Avenue, end of the Green Line.  Then I take a 30- to 40-minute ride into the city.

When I got to the Branch Ave parking lot at 8:45, there were no spaces free.   I drove to the next lot: it was full.  I drove to the third and final parking lot – to my dismay, it was also full.  To make matters worse, I was running out of gas.  (I knew I had just enough to get to the metro that morning and was planning on refueling on the way home that evening.)   It was already 9:00, and I started to panic.   I phoned in to work to let them know I would be late because of parking issues. Andrew, my colleague, assured me it was fine.  At least it was mid-shift, and there was someone at the desk already.

Weighing my options, I figured I would have better luck at Suitland station, the next one up on the Green line, rather than driving downtown and finding parking there.   On the way, I made a detour to acquire a fresh tank of gas. Thankfully, Suitland had some free spaces in their parking garage.   I rushed to the train and paced for 8 minutes until the next one arrived.  Finally aboard the metro, I sat down and tried to relax and enjoy my book.   There was nothing I could do to speed up the process anyway, so I thought I might as well relax.

When I arrived at work, I did my hair and makeup and changed into my uniform in record time.   I clocked in at 10:18, just eighteen minutes late.  Not bad, considering I live 35-40 minutes away.

As if the morning’s commute wasn’t stressful enough.

The day went by, the shift ended, and I hopped in a cab to Andrew’s place to pick him up on the way to this special Concierge appreciation dinner we were to attend that evening in Georgetown.  Dinner was absolutely delicious – at this fabulous seafood restaurant called Hook.  Many other concierges were in attendance.  We certainly met some interesting people…concierges are a rare breed.

After the [wonderfully delicious] dinner was finished, Andrew and I started walking back south on M Street.  When we passed Wisconsin Avenue, I said, “Hey, that hookah place is down this street.”   Andrew asked, “Do you want to go?”

“Sure! I haven’t done hookah in years!”   So we went, we talked, we smoked pomegranate shisha and drank Turkish coffee and chamomile tea, and we were ready for the check.   We left the restaurant and hopped into a taxi.

My taxi trip home

When we climbed in, the taxi cab’s clock displayed “12:00” in prominent, green, glowing numbers.  “Is that the correct time?!” I blurted out.  The cab driver assured me that it was.  At that point, I would not be able to catch a metro train back to Suitland.  Metro closes at midnight.

After weighing several options, as well as mentally running through a list of friends that might be awake still and willing to come pick me up in DC (there were none), I decided I should just take the taxi back to Suitland.  Andrew had offered to let me stay the night at his place, but I did not want my car to get towed.

We dropped Andrew off at his apartment and then the taxi drove me to Suitland.  There was no traffic at that time of night, so my trip only cost about $20.

Driving in a familiar direction does not mean it’s the right direction.

The parking lot was virtually empty, except for two other cars.

Though it was late, I could not resist what I deemed to be a unique photo opportunity.

Though it was late, I could not resist what I deemed to be a unique photo opportunity.

It has been a while since I’ve driven home from the Suitland metro.   I have also used that route to drive to work in the city before.  So when I got out of the garage, I took what I thought was the correct exit to go home. Before I realized it, I was seeing signs for the Nationals Ballpark.   Then I saw the ballpark on my right.  And the Capitol building, bathed in white light against the night sky, loomed ahead of me.

I had driven back into the city.  Backtracked.   Taken the same route the taxi had just driven me.   I had to turn around, but at least then I was on the right track.

Home again.

After all of that, I made it home safe and alive.   I made it in at 1:15 or so, and went to bed by 1:30.  And then I woke up at 5:15 for work the next morning and I just knew that it was going to be a long day.


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2 responses

29 09 2009
Sue Gilmour

I love reading your story.

14 01 2010
Tobias Stäbler

Hey, the story is great. And how you tell it is really cool. You are such a great story teller! I love your way of looking on life.

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