November 19, 2007

And then the conductor said something about one hand clapping

I will admit that I don't really understand Zen Buddhism. It seems mostly to be concerned with finding alternate ways of looking at things, pondering the kinds of questions that if you try to analyze them logically and rationally, you run the real risk of basically having your brain leak right out your ears.

This is what I was thinking about as I walked home to Ballston from the Clarendon metro station on Friday.

But wait. Ballston has a metro station, it's just two stops farther down the line from Clarendon.

This is true. It may come as no surprise, then, that the philosophical ponderings and my commute are related.

Friday afternoon, there were some issues on the Orange line which were creating delays. In fact, the Orange Line Delay was becoming an all-too-regular occurrence lately, but that's another post. Apparently, there was a disabled train somewhere around East Falls Church that was causing trains to share a track, hence the delay. Nothing new, same as it ever was. So I got on at Rosslyn, figuring that the trip would take a little longer than usual, but no big whoop. We were actually moving along better than I had expected. Everything seemed to be going pretty well, I thought. Until we got to Clarendon, where the conductor said, and I quote:

"This train will be going out of service, due to a disabled train ahead of this one."

Um, what?

Read that sentence a couple of times, and try to make any kind of sense out of it. It might help to plug your ears, just to prevent excess leakage. Don't think about it too hard, you'll just hurt yourself.

Utter ridiculousness aside, they still booted everyone off the train and onto the platform, at which point I decided that trying to figure out/understand what was going to happen next would probably take longer than the 15 minutes I would spend walking. As it was chilly but not raining outside, up the escalator and out of the absurd metro system I went.

Maybe that moment of Zen reflection is how they're justifying the latest round of rate increases. We're not going to appreciably improve service, no, but we will start contributing to your spiritual health. Think of it less as your morning commute than as one more stop on the Express Train to Enlightenment.

But grab a tissue first, because you've got a little something coming out of your ears.


Arjewtino said...

The Orange Line has become the bane of my commuting existence. It's always something, but the Red Line, to which I must transfer everyday to get home, is far worse.

I'm going to start staying at your place to cut down on commuting headaches.

WiB said...

arj - Orange has been a nightmare lately. You used to be able to count in it being the most reliable line in town, but the last couple of weeks have been hellish. Red is almost legendary for commuting torture. I can't even imagine depending on it on a day that isn't sunny and warm, and even then it's a crapshoot.

Yeah, the commute from where I live to where you work would be spectacular. The brass ring, right there.

Jo said...

This makes me so glad I don't take the metro anymore.

Look on the bright side though, it could've been rosslyn.

jess said...

i live in clarendon. stop by for cocoa next time :)

WiB said...

jo - The past couple of weeks have made me wonder whether it's worth saving $50 or so a month to metro rather than drive, considering the state of the rails (there's a whole other story I haven't written down yet). It's under consideration.

And yes, it could certainly have been worse. The walk from Clarendon is not unpleasant, actually.

jess - Thank you; I will file that under Things I Wish I Knew at the Time. Not surprisingly, it's a rather thick file...

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