Search This Blog

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Pandemic Daze: Getting Back On Mass Transit

 I may have mentioned this on the blog before, but if not, I'm an adult who doesn't drive.  I got my license when I was 16, and I know the basic motions of driving, but in terms of driving safely on a highway, or even crowded surface streets, I'm not sure I'm the best person for the task.  I've had brief periods of picking it up again, but the skill has never really stuck.  I typically use a lot of mass transit, and then use Uber for times when mass transit is too inconvenient or if I get into some sort of a jam.

As a result, it has felt very strange to have not taken any mass transit since mid-March, on the last day I went to my internship during my last semester of grad school.  We lived near a Metro station at our old place, and we are even closer to one now.  But I haven't been going to all that many places since the pandemic started.  Also, at least initially, Metro was practically begging people to stay home and not take their trains or buses unless it was absolutely necessary.  I knew I would be back one day, though.  I'm definitely not one of those people who is glibly predicting the demise of mass transit; after all, before the pandemic consumed all of our attention, we were discussing the disastrous impact of climate change.

Today turned out to be my day.  I took a basic life support class this morning.  Scott drove me to my class, and I thought I would take an Uber back home.  But then I saw how walkable the area was between the building where my class was being held and the nearest Metro station, and decided to go for it.

I ended up getting somewhat of a Metro double whammy.  When I arrived at the station, I discovered that it was closed, but that they were offering free shuttle bus service to the next station.  So I got to rejoin the world of mass transit by taking both a bus and a train.  It felt strange because in the pre-pandemic days, I would have been on top of things like weekend station closures.  When you take Metro all the time, you usually see signs telling you about upcoming station closures or delays.  But not having ridden Metro since March, I was thoroughly out of the loop.  I had plenty of money on my SmarTrip card because I had lots of places to go in early March, before life shut down on us so suddenly.

The train itself was fine.  At least late morning on a Sunday, there were few enough passengers that it was very easy to socially distance.  Everyone I saw was wearing a mask.  I don't know how many opportunities I'll have in the near future to take Metro again, just because I don't have that many places to go right now.  But it was nice to experience a tiny piece of my pre-pandemic life again.