Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Metro Journal: June 25 Conjunction Junction, What's Your Malfunction?

I apparently forgot to turn on my alarm last night. Oops. I'd been getting up an hour earlier than I usually do for work. So my body was nice enough to wake me up for work, but I realized it was lighter out than it should have been and.... AGH! Talk about rude awakenings. I did make the same bus I had taken yesterday, after realizing yesterday morning that there's a second stop closer to my home that it makes after the Park & Ride stop but right before getting on the 2.

Once again, I was holding on to the luggage rack. I decided I should at least listen to my MP3 player, but the earphone cord was tangled so I somehow managed to untangle it mostly one-handed. Fortunately there were no unsightly accidents to see this morning.

When I was changing from the Blue Line to the Green Line, the transit police were checking tickets. This was the first time all week on either line I'd seen them check. I had to dig out my monthly bus pass, which had gotten buried since I hadn't needed it this week. The Metro Rail Lines are effectively a lottery/honor system. Because they honor the paper day/month/week passes that work on buses where you show them to the driver, they can't really have automated token-fed or card-reader turnstile entrances. If you don't hold a pass, you're supposed to buy a ticket at the station. Not everyone does, since, well, to demonstrate, I was going to my 10th rush-hour ride of the week and only getting ticketed for the first time.

That whole schedule put me in about 5 minutes late after I visited the restroom. Well, to the earlier bus tomorrow. I think I'll just run and set the alarm clock right now...

Ok, done.

During a break in class, I checked my work Blackberry. I had won 20 "studio" bucks from my employer in this week's "please don't use a parking space" lottery! They have this incentive going all summer to promote ride sharing methods, and they're only barely bothering to make it an environmental/street-congestion-reducing goodwill program. Basically, they just don't have enough parking spaces for all the cars for all the productions using the lot this summer, so every week they're giving away lots of real cash prizes and lots of gift-certificate-type-things for the studio store and food market. Every day an employee registered in the Ride Share program takes an "alternate method of transportation" they get an entry card. Last week was the first week of the program and so I won in the first drawing. Whee!

Actually, it's really funny, because early in the week before it started, I had walked into the gate and out of habit pulled out my bus pass instead of my employee ID. The guard made a funny face. The next day the same guard was on duty when I came in and even though I had my employee ID out that time, he said he had to see my bus pass. The last day before the program started, I told him he couldn't make fun of me anymore, because that bus pass could win me big bucks! Or, as has actually happened, moderate fake bucks!

But back to the day's commute. We got out a little later than yesterday, but because of the connection timing issues, I didn't totally write off the chance of making the Commuter Express. Until I got up to wait for the Green Line. Off in the distance, I could see it crawling Very Slowly from the next station. Then someone made an announcement on the PA system from which about the only 3 words I got were "blue," "line," and "delays." Yes, I could see that. When the train finally crawled in and we got on, the driver said that they were having "signaling problems" and we were going to sit there a couple minutes. When we finally got to the next station, someone sat next to me, and after a minute said, "This train is moving really slow." I said that they had said something about "signaling problems," and he said, "What, they can't see each other coming?" I shrugged. We seemed to get back to normal after another station or two, but that had already tacked on another 10-15 minutes to my trip. Luckily I got down to the Blue Line platform just as it was coming in.

I had totally missed the Express, so at the Metro Center I started trudging off to the nearest 81 stop, which, while on paper is only 3 blocks or so away, seemed an eternity. Well, I was pretty tired. I got there just as it did, and it wasn't at all crowded. so that was nice. It ended up going up Hill and then taking a similar route to the one the 90 did that I accidentally ended up on on Monday, even getting on the 110 North and getting off at Figueroa, except the 81 stays on Figueroa all the way until it hits Colorado. I rode it to the end of the line. Travel time, including walking from the training site and to my home, about 2.5 hours. But I did get a lot of crochet done.

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