I think the gods of transportation were miffed yesterday.
In the morning, during rush hour, a woman managed to shut down northbound lanes on I-85 and southbound lanes on I-75 when she threatened to jump off an overpass bridge. Also, a cable came loose inside the southbound MARTA tunnel. yukinooruoni‘s train ran over the thing resulting in big sparkage, and I can only assume major slowdowns. In the evening, I noticed that all the electronic notifications (the scrolling marquees that tell you how long until the next train, etc.) were off when I was awaiting a northbound train, and when I got on my train, the onboard television was off with a message warning of an imminent hard drive failure. And then, to cap it off, my train stopped, and the operator announced that there’d been a “medical emergency” at the Civic Center station (I’ve scanned the AJC headlines this morning but haven’t seen any further details). My train was taken out of service, and were instructed to get out and wait for the northbound train coming along on the opposite track.
Of course, that train was jam-packed, standing-room-only.
People were taking the delay and inconvenience with generally good humor. I amused myself by watching my fellow passengers and their seemingly-instinctive body positionings as they attempted not to invade each others’ personal space despite being crammed together. There were a lot of people standing back-to-back in the aisles (personal space boundaries are much smaller behind than in front) and angled so they wouldn’t be pointing directly at any of the people in the seats. And everyone had that blank, unfocused expression people get when they’re desperately trying not to look at anyone or make eye contact.
Also, I saw (and experienced) “sitters guilt,” survivors guilt’s baby cousin twice removed. It’s when someone gets off, and you take their seat, but feel guilty that everyone else still has to strap-hang. Despite being the closest person to the seat, I felt like I’d done something wrong when I plunked myself down. It wasn’t like anyone was glaring at me for taking it, or that there was anyone more in need of it, but I still felt guilty. And I noticed a similar uncomfortable expression of guilt cross the young man’s face who took the next empty seat across from me.
Brains are weird, and watching people on the MARTA is fascinating.
The online GrendelSong launch party has commenced! Put on your virtual party hats and head on over:
– The podcast of “Returning My Sister’s Face” is now up at Pseudopod! It’s read by Stephen Eley who did a fabu job and handled all the Japanese words speckling the tale with amazing aplomb. Go listen, yo!