The Tale of the Little Train That Couldn’t

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I’ve been riding the train to work for about a year and a half now.  It is never something I am excited to do (because people smell so bad I cry before boarding the train, people are gross, and people are stupid and beyond professional help), but it sure cuts down on the Atlanta commuting traffic.  It is time to reflect back on that one trip into work that scarred me for life…

If I had to pinpoint the worst train ride ever, it would have to be last January.  January 15, 2015 will go down in the history books (maybe even the Guinness Book of Records).  It was a day of personal growth and triumph under cataclysmic circumstances.  Statues and memorials have been erected in honor of those affected.  You may have even seen playgrounds named in honor of Train 604.  Bonds were formed and suicides were prevented.  It was a day where everyone questioned all those things parents told you that you suspected were lies.  For those of us inconvenienced patrons, we will always refer to it as “That Thursday From Hell.”  Prepare yourselves for… The Tale of the Little Train That Couldn’t. *insert scary music*

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My alarm went off around six in the morning like it does nearly every day.  My partner snoozed it and we snuggled a few more minutes.  Both of us already thinking today would be like any other work day.  I finish getting ready, I grab some blackberries and raspberries to snack on in the car on the way to the train, I kiss my fella, and head out the door.  I am surprised that it is not nearly as cold as I thought it would be.  “Things are looking up, today!” I thought to myself, my joy increasing slightly as I prepare for my eight mile trek to the train station.  Cut to about an hour and forty-five minutes later, and I finally park my car.  Ok.  So the drive was still as obscene and heinous as ever.  Can you believe it takes that long to go 8 miles…?  But it was not any worse than the norm, so I settled back into the thought process that this was, indeed, a work day like any other work day.  No. Big. Deal. (Aside from everything else I blog about in regards to public transportation, that is).  I was hungrier than expected, but I knew without a doubt that the train ride in to my office was less than 30 minutes and I could stop by and pick up some hardboiled eggs or have an omellete prepared.  I would be alright.  Things would work out…

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The ride to work was rather uneventful, aside from the usual nonsense.  A woman was eating something (soup? oatmeal? grits? gooey drugs?) from Corner Bakery and I saw her pick food out of her mouth with her fugly non-manicured fingers and stir it back into the bowl with her plastic spork.  Ew ew ew.  Next, a man was trying to nonchalantly scratch his armpits by sticking his hand in his jacket and then under his shirt for about 15 minutes.  The only occasional break he took was to look at his penis (What?! WHY!?), as if enamored that he actually had one.  There was a conflicting combined expression of longing and serene pleasure on his face.  What was he doing?  That was going to be the $1,000,000 question of the day.  If I had to make a wager, I would say he was so riddled with STDs that he had to resort to merely looking at his penis, wondering about what once was, and rubbing his clitoris transplant in his armpit that he recently received.  I am confident that is what was happening.  I am sure insurance does not cover a procedure like that, so how he got the money is beyond me.  Lastly, I also found myself scratching my head when I saw a man carrying a backpack with Minnie Mouse on it that said, “Bows are a girl’s best friend.”   Like I said, it was just the usual nonsense of public transportation in Atlanta…

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At some point between eating like a cave woman and watching a man play with his armpits and penis, the train begins to slow to a halt.  “Must be a red light,” I think to myself.  Every so often the train does not have enough room to allow two cars to pass side by side, so one has to stop a traffic light on the side of the tracks as the other passes.  Minutes pass by.  More minutes pass by.  Now, the seconds even feel like minutes.  The milliseconds feel like hours.  I am dying.  “What is happening?!”  The intercom comes on: “Attention, we are experiencing a mechanical malfunction and we should be up and running in just a few moments.”  Okay.  I can handle that.  What else is new?  Our city’s kindergarten replica of public transportation is not working properly.  Deja vu.  I will just go back to listening to my most recent book I purchased on Audible narrated by Wil Wheaton.  Ready Player One WILL save the day once again…

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Suddenly and without any warning, the train got so cold, as if I was nearing a dementor’s kiss. The power shut off and the next thing I realize, all the electrical compartments are open on all the separate train units with wires and fat coils all over the place. Shockingly (insert the largest dose of sarcasm you can handle), they were unable to get the train running. The intercom is not working on any train car so they have to run up and down them all relaying the next message: “We are now waiting on another train to come and tow us.” Ok… what? Just let this train fall off the ledge and end this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad morning already! Without the tiny amount of heat we were getting, it gets colder by the minute. And we got no blankets or anything! Even passengers of the Titanic got better treatment (as long as you weren’t in steerage)! Our sister train arrives and we are being hooked up to it. We begin moving, but it’s moving so slowly that I question if our continued descent down the tracks on this hell train is even real. We move about 15-20 feet in 15-20 minutes. “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” Ugh. The train stops. Somehow, even at that snail pace, we all get enough whiplash to do permanent Christopher Reeves-like damage. Then, we get our next message: “Ya’ll gettin’ rescued.” Even they gave up hope. Little do they know I do 3 things every morning when I get to the station before boarding: turn off my headlights, lock my doors, and make sure I leave my hope in the car (not necessarily in that order, of course).

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Half an hour passes by and finally we start moving from one end of the train in a single file line down to the other end, through each car full of passengers still sitting.  When we get to the end, we see we have to step out of our train and onto another train that pulled up next to us.  Above the interstate, slightly.  Over a two foot gap that, if I wanted it to, could swallow me whole and I would plummet to my death.  I had a tough choice to make.  Do I let MARTA get the best of me, or do I persevere? I instantly heard the inspirational theme from the Unbroken preview in my head, and after feeling the tiny beads of sweat drip down my forehead, I began to move one foot in front of the other until I was on our rescue train.  Thanks for making that movie, Angelina.  The Oscars may have snubbed you and your film that year, but if it was not for your movie, I may have chosen that long, free, fall into nothingness.  One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.  Bravo.

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We wait for all the lemmings to find their seats on the new train before we can move.  I am beyond late for work at this point.  Ugh.  As I hear the train make strange noises, I know we are about to get moving again.  Finally.  FINALLY.  Something seems slightly peculiar, though, as we start moving.  ARE we moving or did I just go insane while I was stranded?  I looked out the window to invalidate my suspicion of insanity to see that we were, in fact, moving.  But… what… wait… why are we going back north??  We were on the southbound train!  NOOOO!  NOOO!  To make a long story short (too late!), we went north a few miles because we had to get back on the tracks that were going south (or something crazy like that… sounds straight out of SpongeBob to me…)

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After what seems like the most arduous journey of my life (even more so than Indiana Jones and his Temple of Doom, Harry Potter in the Goblet of Fire, and Frodo and Samwise to Mount Doom combined), I made it to work.  As the doors open to the platform, the conductor says, “Don’t let it ruin your day, fo’ks!  Remember: it’s not what happens to ya, it’s how ya handle it!  The sun will come out tomorrow, ya’ll!  Have a nice day and we thank you!”  Feeling a little better about that because it was hilarious in its #TooSoon status.  I remember one of my first thoughts on the train this morning: getting some hardboiled eggs or a nice omelette with peppers, mushrooms, bacon, and salsa.  YUM! I was moving faster and faster up the escalator from the station to the food court in the mall above.  I go in to one of my favorite breakfast joints and the happiness is slapped right off my face the way Ike would do Tina.  Le gasp!  They were… PUTTING OUT LUNCH!!  Noooo!  Noooo!

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That was The Tale of the Train That Couldn’t.  And that train ride/day was, as the kids say, definitely not on fleek.  But even in the worst of circumstances, even Blannie still sings, “The sun will come out… tomorrow… bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun!”

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20 thoughts on “The Tale of the Little Train That Couldn’t

  1. Commuting traffic sucks butttttt. I walked/public transportation’ed everywhere for about the first 24 years of my life, and then lived in the middle of nowhere for a couple years, so traffic was never an issue. But oh em gee bay area traffic. D:

    I may have puked a little reading the description of STD dude, haha. ._. Do notttt want to know what he was doing. I hope you never ever have to experience a January 15 like that ever again. :[

  2. OMG! I’ve never imagined that taking the train could be so different in Atlanta than it is in Europe… I am not saying that people are all polite and they all smell goods, but I’m taking the train everyday and it’s more a relaxing moment than anything… Good luck!!

    • Well for starters, Atlanta was never meant to be a big city. And more people just keep moving here. And none of the infrastructure can support it. You should look up MARTA website and see how the transit lines are set up- it’s crazy!

  3. So much applause for your use of .gifs – I love a good .gif. I live in Atlanta and know the horrors of MARTA. I drive to work because the way the ridiculous lines are set up, but I don’t envy the characters you get to watch. 🙂

    • Well thank you very much 🙂 I am glad someone out there knows MARTA! And … yea… there’s not much else to say about it, huh? lol

  4. My only experience with public transportation was when we went to Europe. I live in Florida and drive everywhere. I had wished that we had a train/metro system here too because it would make commuting no much easier. After reading this, I don’t know if I still do 😛

  5. Wow what a great story. I am glad that despite of it all, you were still optimistic. great story. Thanks for posting.

    • It’s the worst! I wish I could teleport to work – or better yet, I wish they would reinstate the work from home policy that our group used to have until we had 3 levels of new management come in and decide to piss and mark their territory…

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