By Evan Redmon
[Editor’s Note: Courtney Enlow is moving on up to the east side today, so while she enjoys her piece of the pie, we bring you this special guest blog post from former HoboTrashcan columnist Evan Redmon.]
Well hello again everybody. Good to be back. Glad to see HTC is still up and running like a well-oiled machine after all these years.
There’s been some discussion about yours truly returning to this here webernet site, perhaps to pen a regular column which is political in nature. Nothing would please me more, except maybe seeing the Nationals score more than 11/16 of a run every time Stephen Strasburg pitches.
Since my last article, I got married, divorced (must have been the $2.99 engagement ring that started things off on the wrong foot) and had my right hip completely replaced. Stuff’s been happening, in other words. But as a wise man once said, I stayed out of jail and I’m still alive, so things aren’t all bad. In fact, they’re pretty damn good, all things considered, despite being sexless and limpy. (Actually, I’m limp-free and pain free for the first time in six years. Thank you, Dr. Mont. Now, can you help with the other thing? I mean, not you personally of course, but … dah, okay, let‘s move on here.)
So then, I’ve decided to be more positive and complain less. This seems especially sensible, considering how entitled and utterly void of perspective people appear to be when they complain about trivial things, particularly in the wake of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Seriously – how much of a tool do you have to be to whine about the temperature of your Caramel Macchiato when black sludge fields bigger than most Texas counties are washing up on the Redneck Riviera. Maybe talk to a shrimper in Gulfport about how his livelihood is probably gone for the remainder of his life before bitching that Nordstrom is out of size medium in your favorite khakis.
So no complaining.
Yeah right, who am I kidding. Let’s start with Metro …
If you live in, or have ever visited, Washington, DC, then you’ve almost certainly ridden Metro at some point. And it’s nice, isn’t it? That’s what people from out of town always say. “Wow, this is nice! The floor is carpeted and the seats are cushiony! And the ceilings in the stations are so high, and those long escalators are amazing!” True, when compared to New York, Boston or Chicago, the trains and stations in the Washington, DC Metro system are clearly a cut above.
Only one problem; Metro completely blows. For a great many people who use it for commuting to and from work, hardly a day goes by when the seemingly simple task of getting from one place to another becomes an exercise in patience and acceptance.
Now , Metro is well aware of their inherent suckage, so they tout the things they have going for them, as any dysfunctional organization will do. Case in point: a commonly seen billboard prominently features a large brown rat with the caption: “You gonna eat that?” The subtext goes on to say that eating and drinking is illegal in the Metrorail system, which is why they don’t have “rats the size of house cats, like some metro systems we could name”.
First, I’ve seen rats scurrying along Metro’s tracks, so shut it. Second, the aforementioned advertisement is a thinly-veiled bitchslap at New York City’s Metro system. Well, okay, Washington probably has fewer large rats than New York, but then, New York’s system does a few things that Washington’s doesn’t. Namely, it gets passengers from point A to point B, 24 hours a day for $2, no matter how far the trip or time of day.
I currently work near the Vienna Metro but I live near Silver Spring. This means that during rush hour, I pay $5 each way. That’s $10 a day, $50 a week, over $200 a month and about $2,500 a year to commute to and from work. And this is without the next wave of price increases due in August (which will be the third increase in as many years, and the second since June), which will increase fares even more during peak rush hour times when most people travel. Leave it to Metro to invent a second rush hour.
$2,500 a year to commute 20 miles. Soon, close to $3K. Reefreakingdiculous.
This wouldn’t be so frustrating if the reason Metro constantly raises fares was for something other than gross mismanagement over the years, on an almost criminally incompetent level (feel free to Google ‘WMATA mismanagement‘ to get an idea of the horror show). It would be one thing if we got reflexology treatments on the way home from work, or free shrimp cocktails or something. Then I could see forking over three grand for riding the slow train to the U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo station (an actual WMATA station name). C‘mon Metro, it‘s not too late, you can still add 17 different locations to the name of every station. Hell, you‘ve definitely got the funds to pay for the new signs.
Personally. I’d rather travel in a tin box with wooden planks if it meant I could get to and from work without spending more than the cost of two pretty sweet vacations.
And the midnight closing hour … and the mistimed transfer connections … and the 20 minute waits on weekends … and the escalators that break down and stay broken for months on end … and the fare gate doors that closed right on my junk last Thursday … what am I paying for, exactly? Oh right, carpet and cushions to impress tourists who ride Metro twice in their lifetimes, and the salaries of executives who solve no problems.
Speaking of things that are better in New York, why is it do damn difficult to get a good bagel anywhere outside of a 50 mile radius of Manhattan? This is really a referendum on Einstein Bagels more than anything else. When you put the word “bagels” in the name of your store, you’d better have some pretty righteous bagels. The only place that trumps Einstein for bad bagels is Starbucks, which will generally be conveniently located right next door to any Einstein Bagels that you may care to visit. Guess they wanted to keep all the taste-challenged, pre-fabricated bagels in the same area.
If you want to know what a really good bagel tastes like, check out Hot and Crusty on Lexington Ave near 86th St. in New York. Actually, if you want to maintain your misguided belief that Einstein has pretty good bagels, you’d better not. Hot and Crusty will ruin it for you.
To end on a positive note: I recently returned to Shenandoah National Park for a day of unparalleled joy and mirth. This park is truly a national treasure; waterfalls, picturesque pools in which to swim, natural beauty at every turn … I could live happily-ever-after in a tent there, if they had WiFi and ice cream.
On my previous visit, as some of you may recall, I was the unwitting victim of an unprovoked attack by a vicious, man-eating turkey. No such encounter occurred this time, thus it appears the supremely talented park rangers at Shenandoah have eradicated the park of these noxious beasts, presumably with modified 9mm semi-automatic machine guns. Trust me, that’s what it takes to eliminate these tenacious predators.
So if you bite into a spray of spent bullets while gnawing on a turkey bone this Thanksgiving, say thanks to the folks at the Tec 9 company for keeping the forests safe.
Evan Redmon gets a lot of spam. If you are not spam, please feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.