Lorraine to John’s idea of writing a piece about getting to Fringe:
“Yes! Public transportation! Very funny!”
It’s pouring rain and I need to be at Atlas by 6:30 for a Hexagon live chat. Leaving Gaithersburg now because the traffic will be a mess. Probably take me 45 mins. just to get to Shady Grove. But the more awful the commute, the funnier the diary. Bring on the nightmare!
Okay, I live 20 minutes away from the metro. How did it only take me 10 to get here? This isn’t typical. I didn’t hit a single red light. And my parking spot is right next to the elevator. If I want this piece to be entertaining, I need disasters. Thank God it’s still raining. I’ll get soaked walking from the garage to the station. That will be funny. I’ll describe it hitting me like the opened floodgates of an aqueous hell.
Seriously? Just as I step out of the garage, the rain stops. Hell is aqueous no longer. It’s dry and temperate, and filled with commuters who, for some reason, smile at me. I hate them.
Oh my God, Metro can’t get anything right! Why is the train already at the platform when I reach the top of the escalator? And there’s a seat for me facing the right direction. In fact there’s a ton of them, and the car is well air-conditioned. The second I sit, the doors close and the train moves. This is going to be a long and terrible night. I console myself by texting rude things to a former employee, just to let him know I could have fired him thirty years ago. Let’s see how well he sleeps.
The guy beside me is reading a comic book. He’s in his mid-30s. I don’t know if that’s tragic enough to justify the rest of this column, but it remains firmly lodged in my craw.
Union Station in 45 minutes. I swear this efficiency is going to kill me. The streetcar may be the only thing that saves this diary, because I’ve heard they’re so unreliable. Someone needs to restore my lack of faith in public transportation.
The streetcar pulls up as I approach the platform. It’s comfortable and pleasant. Joy dissipates. There is no God. Before the night is through I resolve to kick a hobo for sport.
I step off at 13th Street NE. I’m an hour early. The rain is gone. I check my phone. They’ve pushed back my interview to 7:00 and there’s not a kickable hobo in sight. I need a drink.
Fort Fringe. After dinner, an interview, and a wonderful performance of Clara Bow: Becoming It, I head back to the streetcar, secure in the knowledge that WMATA can’t get me home as easily as it got me to H Street.
The streetcar closes its doors as I approach the stop. My lack of faith in humanity is restored. I smile. But then the driver opens the door and asks me if I’m headed west. I sigh, and board the train which takes me home as speedily as it bore me hither. Another day ruined.
–John Morogiello is currently performing in Blue Over You at the Capital Fringe Festival.
Your mistake was not going about an hour earlier on July 18, when you would have arrived at the Union Station streetcar platform to learn that a Metrobus was blocking the streetcar at 14th Street. And then you might have decided to take the bus, which would have required a bit of a wait with the other multitudes trying to catch one, and arrived at 14th Street and seen that BOTH sides of the streetcar tracks at 14th were blocked by metrobuses and the poor streetcar was waiting patiently on the northeast side of the intersection. The absurdity of it all would have almost made up for arriving too late for even the late seating of “Abortion Road Trip”.
The streetcar is very reliable. It’s everything surrounding it that isn’t.
Jo Ann G says
You are a brave man! I do not know how you endure such hardships!