I think the Metro has finally broken me.
It didn’t do it all by itself. After seven years of riding on this increasingly inefficient and expensive system, I’ve managed to become immune to most nuisances. But this has been one of the shittiest weeks ever, and the straws just kept piling up on this camel’s back. To start, a little virus managed to invade my work computer on Friday, and kindly embedded itself into the root directory so that on Monday, when the IT guy who helped me on Friday wasn’t around, my new pet virus decided it would be a good time to play some games. Random Browser Redirect and Hide From the Anti-Virus Scanner turned out to be its favorites.
Switching to a limited-function spare computer only seemed to increase the daily boredom of a job that has become rather stagnate. And this was just Monday morning. Monday night got even worse. By Tuesday evening, I was riding home on the metro, sacked by a dangerous combination of fury and exhaustion. Not surprisingly, the metro was over-crowded and the air conditioners were not working. Then, the train car next to us was malfunctioning and riders were asked at one stop to exit that car and move to ours. Sweating like a pig and trying not to bump into other people’s sweaty arms was starting to give me a homicidal twitch, something like the way Lisa Turtle’s allergies flared up when she was around Screech in that one episode of Saved By the Bell.
Finally in the metro parking lot, I couldn’t wait to get home and just go to sleep as quickly as possible and forget about the day. Of course, when I swiped my card at the exit gate, and the machine deducted my parking fare, but wouldn’t raise the bar so I could exit. Hoping the metro employee would just come out of the adjacent booth and push the magic button to let me out, he instead instructed me to back up and pull around to the other gate. So I did, only to find out that I was going to have to pay another $4.50 for parking. And that was the spear that burst my thundercloud because I suddenly snapped and started cursing at the guy. Thankfully, I wasn’t hurling insults at him or making a big scene. More like, momentarily venting about our city’s pathetic metro system which I can tolerate no more. It went something like this…
“I’m not fucking paying again! Why the fuck should I pay twice?! Fuck this goddamn piece of shit Metro!”
He looked despondent. I think he is the same normally cheerful parking attendant who once told me I should smile as I was exiting the lot one day. But yesterday, I was like Miss White with the flames on the side of her face and I just completely lost it.
Realizing there was no magic button that this guy was going to push to free me from the blood-sucking metro, I paid for parking again. “You can contact Metro for a refund,” the guy said, pointing to a number on his booth. I looked blankly for a second as if to say, “you’re kidding, right?” because with all of the Metro’s unaddressed problems and embarrassments, asking for a refund is not only a cumbersome process (it once took several months to be reimbursed for fare on a broken SmarTrip card), but will also likely result in nothing. Except, maybe a form letter that goes something like the recording that plays when there are delays at one of the stations. “We are sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”
Patience? But I haven’t got any left! I doubt anyone will even be sent to test the parking gate for malfunctions.
I’d never done that before — blown up on somebody like that. And when I pulled into my parking space, finally home, I was red-faced with anger, but at same time, so ashamed to have yelled at the guy like that. I just hope I will have the nerve to apologize to him. And when that is done, I’d like to go on a really long vacation. Maybe out West. On a tour bus that will drop me off in the desert for two or three minutes and just let me have a good, long scream.