I was flying high earlier today. We finished up the group project on disaster plans for my University Libraries class, and I was feeling pretty good about it. I spent most of last night editing, streamlining and honing what we had and I think we had a pretty good paper set to hand in. On top of that, I was feeling pretty good about the presentation we had to make on the topic as well.
I left for class a good hour early. Sometimes metro gets spiteful and things can take 30 minutes or so longer than you plan on. It often happens when you least want it to, and I wanted to make sure I was on campus in plenty of time. Unfortunately an hour wasn't nearly enough of a buffer today.
I was happily sitting in my seat on the train, half reading an old interview with Mark Leyner and half watching the scenery flit by. The driver's voice came over the load speakers and I heard the least favorite words of metro commuters around the world, "I've just received reports of a suspicious package at the Pentagon Metro stop. We can't go any farther than Pentagon City. Any passengers wanting to go downtown can catch a free shuttle bus."
I shrugged my shoulders and thought I'd still be ok. But when I came out of the metro stop instead of finding a shuttle ready to take me downtown I found a writhing, angry mob full of people ready to be just about anywhere but that street corner. There were probably three train-fulls of people there, and more filing in behind me.
Shuttles were provided, but only about every 20 minutes. Each one barely made a dent in the crowd. And for some reason every other shuttle was going south instead north, the way to downtown. No one seemed to understand that, not even the metro employees doing what little they could to keep a frustrated mob informed. After an hour or so, I made it half-way through the mass of people. Only another hour of waiting and salvation would be mine. Fortunately, the trains started run soon after that and I finally made it to campus.
Long story short, I eventually made it. A ride that normally takes an hour and fifteen minutes took three and half hours. Thanks to a quick phone call to Miss L, I was able to get an email to the other two people in my group and they were very nice about the whole thing. I made it just in time to be the last group make a presentation and it went pretty well, despite my bedraggled look and spent emotions when I first got there.
Why am I blogging about this? I have no idea. I just know these metro problems have been hitting me more frequently the last few months than they ever did when I rode metro every day. But you never realize how much you depend on things like public transportation to work until they fail. We humans really are quite hopeless little creatures.
Ah well. One more paper to go. This one's an annotated bibliography on reference sources for science fiction. So hopefully this one will be fun.