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03 April 2010 @ 11:01 am
Good Friday on the Metro  
So, as takayla was dropping me off to the metro station, she offered the hopeful tone of, "It's Good Friday, I bet traffic will be light and the Metro will be uncrowded." I shared her sense of optimism as I got on the Orange Line, headed downtown. The ride in wasn't very pleasant, but it had simply replaced the normal normal commuters I was used to with Folgier's Instant Tourists. Lots of luggage, strollers, and clueless day trippers.

The ride back, however, was a mad house. The WMATA website stated the conflicting news that there were no delays and yet the Smithsonian stop had closed off one of the entrances due to "congestion." The Red Line was bad enough with clueless tourists roaming about like puppies into traffic. Either there were too many tourists or not enough regular commuters, but a lot of us commuters had to navigate around an overcrowded train doorway as most tourists do the "dooker" thing: come in the train and stop immediately so no one can come in behind them. Notably confused families from out of town. Just before I got off the Red Line, some angry commuter exiting at Galley Place hip-checked this Asian kid who couldn't have been more than 5. I didn't see what the kid hit, but whatever it was, it made a slightly disturbing crunchy sound of a child's head hitting metal and the partition between me and the door blocked reverberated violently. Those who have kids know that sound. It's beyond "oopsie" into "uh oh..." and making a mental Rolodex shuffle to look up where the nearest hospital is. And before the kid could inhale half a car's worth of oxygen to let out that wail that follows such an impact, the car was flooded with wildebeests pouring back in, pushing him and his family deeper into the car.

Small kids who get hurt like that have an initial three stage cry. There's this initial cry-gasp and their chest contracts as all the air leaves their lungs. All you see is a face, mouth wide open, trembling in a silent scream. This is the first wave. Because what follows is a huge inhale of air as their tiny brain prepares for the second wail. The second wail, which erupted as the commuters piled in, was a blaring siren that ended as they do, with a strange hiccup that is a precursor to a more predictable pattern of crying in sheer pain.

And no wonder; the kid was bleeding pretty badly. Given that only seconds had passed since the hip check, the amount of blood was impressive. I couldn't tell where it was coming from since the kid had already smeared the blood all over his face with his small crimson hands. I think the cut was over his brow, and possibly continuing down his cheek. I have first aid training, but my cert has expired. I also couldn't get to the kid because there was a huge knot of people between me and the family, all pretending like nothing was happening. Luckily, a few strangers assisted the mother, who seemed to have a surprisingly calm and confident reaction to the problem. When I got off at Metro Center, the blood was already starting to soak into the kid's shirt neckline, but several people were discussing options with the parents.

I got on the Orange line, which was packed to the wall with tourists in flip flops and tee shirts and caps that would advertise to all that they visited one of the many vendor carts on Independence Avenue. Oh yeah, "FBI." Awesome. One was obviously bootleg, and had a cartoon Kanye West saying, "I know your city is great, and Imma gonna let you finish, but DC is the best city of ALL TIME!" But my attention was immediately drawn to an older guy who looked so much like Slim Pickens, it made me think he faked his 1983 death. I mean, I wondered if I was in some Blazing Saddles moment. Or he would straddle the Metro car and scream, "WAAA HOO HOO..." But no, he just dozed off.

A pair of women who brought strollers were blocking the doorway; one was texting while another was lost in some music dreamland with her MP3 player. This caused a problem when we got to Rosslyn when more people than normally exit there during a daily commute attempted to get off.

Commuter: We can't walk around you, you need to get off!
Woman: But this isn't our stop!
Woman: [brain dies] Oh woe woe... no?
Woman: Duuuh... fuh fuh...

But the strangest thing I saw was a group of people that looked so... bizarre, I wish my iPhone camera booted faster. Imagine this: picture a group of about 6 young women or maybe older teenagers in matching modesty dress/prairie gown clothing that was ripped from a 1970 Butterick pattern for Holly Hobbie. But most of them looked very similar, which leads me to think they were all related in some way. They were all very skinny, had narrow heads, and big bug eyes that gave them a permanently scared look. It was like if Beaker from the Muppets had a bunch of daughters in 1850. Their heads were snapping back and forth like cartoon prairie dogs at Rosslyn, which got my attention. They looked scared, like geese that had suddenly been released into a huge military marching demonstration. I thought to myself, "Someone should have been a tour guide for this folks." That's when I saw some guy bark commands at them. He was a really old guy with white hair, dressed fairly normally with a yellow button down casual shirt and jeans. "Come AHN com ahn..." he said, and all the women followed him like ducklings.

I guess its was the annual cult's day out or something.
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Merry Pseudonym: 1-Poison Appleamelia_eve on April 3rd, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
That is the best description I've ever read of how kids have that silent moment before a really big scream. Well done.