punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

My ankle is bad again

Yesterday, one of the Metro trains died. It was one ahead of us, which is always bad because it starts a chain reaction during rush hour.

- Train 1 has problems. Probably sits at a station or two for a while opening and closing doors. Because it’s at the station for longer than expected, it fills up with more people.
- This causes Train 2 behind it to be lagged. Because it’s at stations for longer than expected, it fills up with more people.
- Because Train 2 is running behind, more people fill up at the platform and pack into the train when it arrives.
- Finally, the platforms at major stations are so packed with people, you can’t get on, and often to have to wait for enough empty space on train 3, 4, and so on just to get on something.
- Train 1 finally dies, and dumps everyone off at a station. Now one station has an overfilled platform of a whole train’s worth of people PLUS the people that were already there.
- It takes a while for Train 1 to leave. The station is now filling up with angry people.
- When Train 2 arrives, it’s already way behind and too full.
- Same with Train 3 and 4 and 5 and so on until rush hour ends about an hour or two past the normal time it tapers off.
- Once you do get on a train, it’s packed, and filled with angry people.

The Orange line is really susceptible to this because it generally fills up near the center of the line, and doesn’t really end until it reaches West Falls Church (two stops before my stop and the end of the line). I switch from the Red Line to the Orange at Metro Center. This give me a slight advantage because Metro Center is one of the few places in the system that actually lets people off during rush hour (Orange/Blue to Red). So there is a slight chance there may be a seat. But not in these situations.

Usually, I get on the train at one end or the other. In the case of the Orange Line, I try and get on the platform where the front of the train will be. This has about 30-40% less passengers trying to pack in compared to the middle cars. But yesterday was one of the occasional times this didn’t matter: the platform was filling up so much, it was pushing people to the other ends from the middle.

I did manage to get on a train, but I had to stand. The middle of the Metro cars has only two places to hold on: a rail in the center of the ceiling or the back of a chair. I was packed in such a way that the ceiling rail was the only way to hold on during stops until it thinned out slightly at Ballston. Thank God I am six feet tall, you’re fucked if you’re 5’ 8“ or less unless you have orangutan arms. The car was so packed, that short people had to just prop themselves up with the people packed around them: nothing to hold onto unless they were near the back of a chair. A short girl whose face came only as high as my chest was pressed face first into a taller woman behind her with huge cleavage. The short girl and I were spine-to-ass during most of the journey. A few times, she had to reach around and claw into my side when the train jerked around.

Because the train was overcrowded, the train jerked a lot. This is caused by the increased weight, with affects the inertia, and how the car handles braking. Sudden braking is common, and people almost fall down on one another if it wasn’t for the strength of people like me with an iron grip on some pole or back of a seat.

Sadly, holding onto the ceiling rail means my torsion points are my wrists and ankles. My ankle and foot, which has just started to heal, was now being twisted and jerked around with the weight of me, the short girl, and part of the rest of the train as it stopped and started. Because of the delays, this also made the trip a good 15 minutes longer than normal.

The guy in front of me, which happened to be my childhood friend Pat Carlton, fell asleep standing up because we were packed in so tightly, he simply could not fall.

By the time there was a free seat at Dunn Lorring, my ankle had swollen to the size of a grapefruit. I could barely walk, and my ankle brace was at home. Quickly, I rolled up my sock and wrapped it around the swollen potion, and readjusted my shoe to give that ankle more support. This seemed to work, because by the time I got to my stop, I could walk fairly well, albeit it was a little painful. My other leg, which had been trying to compensate, was now sore and the knee was giving out. I was in jeopardy of toppling over and being unable to get up at any point.

To make matters worse, the Vienna station is doing escalator work, which has reduced the station to only two escalators; only one going in each direction. The handicapped elevator was packed, and could only hold about 8 people for per 1 minute round trip. So I had to stand and wait for everyone to get to the only working up escalator at the far end of the station. I saw people trying to run fast up the down escalator, much to the annoyance of the redneck Capital Hockey fans trying to get down.

This, of course, delayed pickup at the parking lots. Christine had to park at the far end of the lot to wait for me, which means I had to limp in the dark with blinding headlights all around me, driven my angry people on the cell phone, calling people on the train, going, ”Where the hell are you?“ I know, I watched tons of people take those calls when I was on the train.

I could barely make the to my house stairs. Each step felt like a shaft of razor pain going up my leg. I barely made it to bed.

My ankle had gone down now, but the swelling was so bad, I have those red strangle dots where my skin ballooned out. I am going to get ankle stretch marks if this keeps up.
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