When my boss told me that I had been chosen to voyage to the other side of the country and represent my company at the Demos conference, I was excited. I’d never been on a business trip before and it sounded like a fun adventure.
I immediately began planning the trip out in my head. I had everything planned out (including the meals I’d make beforehand so that Wes wouldn’t starve) but when my mental train arrived in Washington DC, I was suddenly confronted with a dilemma: How was I supposed to get from the airport to the hotel?
I posed this question during a staff meeting and was met with a short answer from seasoned East-coasters: “Just take the Metro.” Um, what?
They might as well have said, “Just grease up and luge yourself there” for all the good telling me to take the Metro did for me. I have lived the entirety of my happy little life in the suburbs of the West coast. Not only have I never *successfully* taken mass transit on my own, I’ve yet to read a map correctly.
So, when posed with the possibility of reading an arcane color-coded map populated with what looks like garish tape-worms, I was understandably shaken and stirred. One of my colleagues, a DC native through and through, took pity on me and looked up the route and sent me excellent directions.
Once I arrived, I managed to procure a Metro pass (even though I initially stood in the wrong line and had to break my cool imitation of a jaded East-coaster in order to ask for help) and hopped onto what I hoped was the right train.
This picture just about sums up how I was feeling at that moment. I had managed to get on the yellow line, but was it going in the right direction? If I had gotten on the wrong one, I’d have been on my way to Virginia, you see.
Right after I took this picture, a woman sitting in the seat across from me snapped her head up and demanded to know whether I had just taken a picture of her. I, being terrified of East coast natives (word on the street is that they eat polite West coast suburbanites like me for breakfast) promptly denied the accusation and showed her the picture for proof. She then commanded me to take another picture, but with me smiling instead of terrified (I did, but then erased it when she wasn’t looking.)
I managed to transfer trains successfully (though I had to ask a few billion bystanders for help in the process) and made it to my hotel safely. Now that I’m home and safe, I look back on my Metro adventure with fondness.
If I actually knew where I was going I’d probably really enjoy reading a book on the way to work. I might never get used to the scary teenagers on the bus (one of whom either threw me a gang symbol or the ASL sign for a**hole, I couldn’t tell which he was going for and was too afraid to ask) but I might get better at blending in. My good manners made me stick out like a sore thumb there.