Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You know it's bad when you think the safer option is to jump on the tracks and run!

After an exhilirating day at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear (to read my other entries go HERE, HERE and HERE), we made our way to Metro Station.  With 250,000 people.  We thought maybe we would wait out the crowd, but the more we were in the crowd with nowhere to go, nowhere to eat (all restaurants were booked - mental note:  next time make reservations for the post rally so we have a place to go), we decided to hit the Metro station since we were passing one that was the Red Line, which is what we needed. 

I have been in some rather uncomfortable and crowded situations.  And as you may have read in my previous post, I have been known to lose my shit.  But that's usually anger induced.  I can't remember the last time I was in a crowd where I really thought I was going to get hysterical.  You know, crying, screaming, hair pulling (my own and others' hair), scratching, biting, cussing, salivating, sweating and any other sign and symptom that goes along with utter and complete hysteria and panic.  Now that I've typed it out, I don't think I have ever been in that situation.  Until that day.

We get through all the signs and escalators and stairs in the Metro station and this is what we see when we get to our platform (that's us, in red):
This is where we had to catch the Red Line.  To get an idea of how many people were there, each black dot represents 10,000 people.  Ok, maybe not, but you get the picture.  Notice on the other side of the tracks, there is almost no one and those who are there are happy.

At this point, we just got in line at the end of the crowd.  As people come in behind us, we get pushed more and more into the crowd.  In the meantime, trains are coming in and people are trying to get off, so people are pushing from both directions.
There we are, in that crowd.  People are screaming and yelling and pushing and cussing.  One woman dropped her child and was SCREAMING "Child down!  Child down!" trying to reach him to pick him up out of the mob, which she managed successfully to do.  There was a blind man with a sighted man trying to make their way through.  The sighted man finally just got pissed and pushed everyone out of his way and he and the blind man made it onto a train.

As the crowd pushes and shoves, we end up right next to the edge of the track.  Two of us are together and I was not 100% sure where our other two friends were.  At this point, I am about to LOSE.MY.MIND.
So now C is panicking that someone is going to give a good shove and we are all going to end up on the tracks.  She's from NYC and while growing up I'm sure heard many stories of people ending up on the tracks.  We know what that means.  I am now in full blown hysteria and I am pretty sure I look something like this.
In the process of "I'm going to go into total hysteria mode," I start thinking not so clearly.  I am actually thinking jumping ONTO the tracks and crossing over to the smiling people might be the better option.  I am starting to understand how desperate people can take desperate measures.  I was actually standing there looking at the tracks trying to figure out where NOT to step in order to prevent electrocution.
C notices what looks like an exit sign at the opposite end of the platform from where we came in.  And there appear to be some stairs.  She is suggesting we try to make our way down there and just leave.  I followed up her suggestion with "I am out of here.  I'm going that way.  I can't stay here."  In my head, all I was thinking was "if I lose the gals, I can always buy a plane ticket home."  And I would have because I could not stand there another minute waiting to be shoved onto the Metro train tracks.  So C and I took off through the crowd.  And thankfully L and E saw what was going on and joined us.
So here was our question when it was all over.  See all those people huddled together?  The little black dots?  Well, why didn't the people on the end who could see all that empty space down where we moved to not go down there to start with?  Why did they stay put on the edge of a crowd when there was so much empty space at the beginning of the train track, the front of the train?  We were caught in the crowd and couldn't see that until we broke free. 

Finally, after we go to the open platform area and could breathe, a Metro employee stood on the other side of the tracks, where the happy people are, and yelled over to the crowd to "MOVE DOWN!"  We have no clue why the people on the end didn't have enough common sense to do that from the beginning.  They saw several trains come in and out of the station to see that the beginning of the train was WAY DOWN THERE.

Anyway, we got on the next train and made it safely back to our car.  My hair is no longer standing on end and my smile is back.  I don't ever want to experience that again!


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  2. Yikes! Glad you held on!!