the little engine that couldn't.
Reports of flurries! An ice storm! It was coming in sooner than anyone thought!
For anyone not in the metro Atlanta area, a single snowflake causes the closings of every school, college and church in the area, the selling out of bread, milk, peanut butter and votive candles in the grocery stores, traffic snarls even worse than previously imagined (in a city known for having some of the worst traffic in the country), and panic in the streets (a great Richard Widmark movie, by the way).
So I sent a grocery list to the ipager of The Man Who Lives in the House who was leaving work at 3 PM, because we had absolutely no food in the house, and I got on MARTA at 4:05, expecting to beat him home.
The MARTA ride from Five Points to North Springs takes about 35 minutes. My exit is about ten minutes past that. So figure I should have walked in the door, adding on bad traffic, no later than 5, 5:15 PM.
When I walked into my house, it was 8:30 PM.
What, pray tell, could have happened to cause me to lose more than three hours of time? Was traffic really so awful that it took three extra hours to get home?
The MARTA train broke down halfway between the Medical Center and Dunwoody stations. The time was approximately 4:25 PM. The driver never announced anything over the loudspeaker (i.e., "We're sorry to inconvenience you, folks, this train will be moving momentarily..."). In fact, at no time during this story was any announcement ever made.
About twenty minutes after the train had broken down, the driver came back to my car (the last car) and fiddled around with the engine in the back. We heard something snap really hard, and then he swore VERY LOUDLY. The insurance claims adjuster next to me said the driver had just locked up the brakes.
The driver went back to the front of the train, came back to the back and fiddled with the brakes some more, went back to the front of the train, came back to the back, did this six or seven times.
By this time an hour had passed. MARTA had begun single tracking and seven northbound trains passed us. To entertain ourselves my car all went to the side when a train passed and made faces at the passengers in the passing trains. We were having a grand time, passing around food, knitting (at least I was), cracking jokes. We needed only a pregnant woman going into labor to make our lives complete.
Suddenly, there was a *THUD!* against our train. Another train had connected to ours. Hooray! That driver came onto our train. He and our driver started arguing, and then got into a fist fight in our aisle. They were fighting over whose job it should be to fix the train. Note that during this time, no train fixing was actually being performed. We thought this was hilarious and started betting on the outcome of the fight. Unfortunately, the fight ended inconclusively when a MARTA manager broke it up so I didn't win any money.
Another hour passed while the three of them walked back and forth from the front of our train to the back of our train.
Then, lo and behold! our train began moving, being pushed by the attached train! We were being pushed. . . pushed. . . almost made it. . . not quite there yet. . . to the Dunwoody station. . . and we didn't make it. Oh well. I know! Maybe we can make it back to the Medical Center station! Yeah! We're rolling. . . moving. . . almost there. . . almost. . . stopping. . . nope. Hey, what if we try to make it back to Dunwoody again? Yeah! Moving. . . almost there. . . nope. Let's go back to Medical Center! Moving. . . almost there. . .
You can guess the outcome. It's a wonder the trains even stay on the track at all with these geniuses running them.
Okay, new plan. Move everyone from the attached four car train into the last two cars of that train. Move everyone from the broken down six car train into the first two cars of the attached train. One they're aboard, repeat about five times how they have to move into the four cars of that train.
Then sit there for another 40 minutes.
THEN push the train to the Dunwoody station.
This time, it works.
However, once at the station, the doors do not open.
And then the train that comes does not wait long enough to let the passengers aboard....
I did, however, get quite a bit of knitting done.
And remember, MARTA is smarta!.