Every day, I leave the house at 6:11. I drive to the Metro station to get on the 6:43 train, and park in pretty much the same spot. I get a copy of the two freebie newspapers (the Examiner and the Express), and I sit in the third car, in the same seat every day. I sit in this car and in this seat because when the train reaches my destination, the escalator off of the platform will be next to the door nearest the seat. If I were to sit further forward on the train, my exit would be past the escalator, requiring a u-turn once I passed the escalator, and merging with the line of people going up.
I have to complete the Examiner crossword before I reach the Stadium station. That way, I can be reasonably sure of completing the Express crossword by the time I get to L’Enfant Plaza. That will give me enough time to read the entertainment sections of both papers, as well as the op-ed section of the Examiner.
I always fold the newspapers with the opinion section of the Examiner facing out (so people will think I’m smart), and leave the station through the last turnstile on the right. The newspaper goes in the second-to-last recycling bin just before the escalator to the street. There is a reason for the turnstile and bin, basically an efficiency of movement thing. It took a few weeks of mental calculation and experimentation with different routes, motions, and even strides, but I think I’ve got it down now. I’ve even counted the number of steps, just to be sure.
Yesterday, everything seemed to go wrong. I was 5 minutes late leaving the house. There were no Examiner papers to be had at the station. The third train car was “down” as in not working. I had to make a snap judgment. Should I:
a) Sit in car 2, thus requiring the dreaded “station u-turn?”
b) Sit in car 4, meaning a 50 foot longer walk to the platform escalator?
c) Wait for the next train and be another 4 minutes late for work?
I went with “b” figuring the extra walk wouldn’t hurt. Unfortunately, car 4 was rather full, meaning I didn’t get my usual seat. I got stuck with an aisle seat on the end, which meant that I couldn’t have a proper work surface on which to complete my only crossword. See below:
That isn't me, by the way...
Upon arriving at the station, I discovered to my almost horror that my turnstile was broken, and the recycling bin I use was being emptied!!!
I arrived at the office pretty much convinced that the day was going to be ruined. Luckily, the rest of the day was uneventful, and today, everything was back as it should be.
In case you are wondering (and I know you are), I do have a routine for my trip home, but it isn't nearly as complex as the one on the way in.