Monday, January 10, 2011

Rush Hour... on pause

This afternoon I left work, elevator down to the main floor and out the door. Short walk to the light rail station (one of the reasons I like working downtown) to catch a ride home.

Mrs. Spit was working from home today, so I offered to not make her drive into the downtown core to pick me up. It's different when she's at work about 15 blocks from my office, but it's less enjoyable for her to drive into the core in rush hour to pick me up. We texted back and forth and she left home to be at the nearby station waiting for me to arrive.

I walked into the station to see a train just leaving. No worries, right? It's rush hour, they come along at least every 5 minutes. So I set about listening to my iPhone (Bon Jovi, memories of last summer's concert dancing in my brain). A couple of songs later, I've noticed that two trains have headed through the station southbound, yet nothing northbound.

Commence confusion.

Another train goes through the station, southbound. By now the traffic is starting to get backed up on the platform. People keep coming down the stairs... and coming... and coming... and the music played on.

By now Mrs. Spit is starting to wonder where I am, as she's been waiting at the station for a while. I'm starting to wonder if I need to leave to call her to come pick me up.

After the sixth train went through soundbound, with no northbound, you could see the frustration waves running through the crowd.

And then came the PA announcing a northbound train. I didn't hear it, but all of a sudden people moved past me towards the platform edge. Here comes the train! Much general excitement as people who are far outside their comfort zone are yearning to get home.

The train pulls in. My first though? Yeah, I'm taking a miss on this one! Packed. About 30 people offloaded, and 60 crammed into it. I'll wait, thanks. People running for the door - only to realize that they and 100 other people are not going to fit.

The second train arrives, and there are not only empty isles, but empty seats! So I get in and have lots of room. Until the next station, which is still packed with sardines... erm... people that is. My train car is now full, with everyone getting really familiar with their neighbours.

When the train cleared onto the above ground tracks, I get a text from Mrs. Spit: "Where are you?!?" She's now been sitting in the car for about 30 minutes longer than she expected.

Today was really all about being reminded of just how dependant we are on routine, schedules, and on our modern contrivances working as they were supposed to when designed. Funny, really, how quickly we get thrown off-track when things don't work as they should.

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