Big City Syndrome or Near Death on the Red Line

On our last day in DC we crammed in a lot of stuff.   We walked from the Lincoln Memorial all the way back to the National Museum of Art, with museum stops in between.  That’s the full length of the Mall and then some.

Pretty good for an almost 8 year old and a pleasantly plump, 50 year old who has had three foot surgeries. Bashert is disgustingly in love with walking, so she was in heaven.

Bashert also loves the challenge and excitement of the big city.

She weaves in, out and through busy crowds and streets like a pro.  Yoda and I work hard to keep up.

Bashert admits that the city brings out the serious Big City Syndrome in her. Her mother was pure Alabama, but her father, aside from being first generation American, was born and raised in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York.

Now on this final, active day, we finally had to make a line change on the Metro.  The station where we picked up the subway wasn’t the line we needed, so we mapped out the train switch we would have to make.  Two stops and we would hop from the Green line to the Red line.

No big deal.  We get on; we get off; we get on.  Piece of cake, right?

Enter the Big City soul of Bashert.

We all got off the Green Line train fine.  We located the escalator to the lower level where we were to catch the next train.  Yoda was exuberant to find it in working order, so that we didn’t have to walk down as we had in other stations.

Just as we hit the bottom of the escalator, the Red Line train pulled into the station.  Bashert switched into Big City mode and began to run for the train.

Recall, if you will, from the first few lines of this blog – an 8 year old and an out of shape 50 year old with a bad foot – I do not run well and Yoda was beginning to panic with the speed and activity about.

Bashert hopped into the last car of the train and got a seat.  I grabbed Yoda’s hand and started to run. He immediately plowed into the stomach of a passenger exiting the car.  He halted in his tracks and began to cry. I heard the warning bells going off that the door was about to close.

I’m not quite sure what possessed me to do the next thing.  Idiocy of the highest order definitely played a part.

I shoved my leg in the path of the closing door.

The doors continued to press inward and there I was hung in the literal balance of one foot in the train, the other in the station.  Visions began to swim through my brain.

I was either going to be careening through the underground of the city plastered against the skin of the train, fingernails dug into it’s metal sides or I was going to be dragged along, head butting every jutting support that came along in true slapstick form.

My next flash was that I was going to lose my leg. There I would be floundering on the platform gushing blood from my severed femoral artery, while onlookers screamed, “NINE-ONE-ONE, NINE-ONE-ONE!”.  Those doors don’t play.

Next day’s headline: “Tourist killed in Metro Accident, Inquiry to Follow”.  People would shake their heads and say what a tragedy to go on a family vacation and lose your life.

My last horrifying thought was that I was going to be pushed into the train by another late passenger only to look back and see Yoda left standing on the platform all alone. Oh, no that would not do at all.

Just when that sickening thought popped in, a man grabbed the other door and helped shove it back against the ever so polite, recorded voice that was admonishing us to clear the doorway area because the doors are closing. No kidding.

Yoda was still frozen in place, so I yelled in my ‘listen to me now’ Mom voice for him to jump in the car.  He moved on that one.

The gentleman and I followed quickly behind.  The doors slid shut.

Yoda sat in Bashert’s lap and I plopped down next to them, sweat pouring.

Bashert said she couldn’t believe I had done that.  Me either.

I had all the money, the subway tickets, both phones and Yoda.  I could have easily waited for the next train 6 minutes down the line. Why in the ever loving universe did I do it?

Big City Syndrome.

Its not a pretty thing on small town people.

I think our vacation ended at just the right time.

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