Schumin Web after dark…

6 minute read

July 8, 2012, 7:38 PM

And apparently my life after dark, at least last night, was a bar, two buses, and four Green Line trains.  So cue up the “Fireside” music, because here it is.  I went into DC in order to hang out with Christina, a friend and former coworker, one more time before she moves to Hawaii.  I’m quite happy for her, because she’s wanted to move to Hawaii for a long time.  However, I’ll miss her in DC.  That’s why this evening was special.

Getting there, though, was a little more exciting than I expected.  The bar where we were going to was The Passenger, across 7th Street NW from the convention center.  I considered this to be a good opportunity to go see some of the new Rush+ signage that Metro had put up, that would include new station names and slightly different train movements.  I had originally decided to go in on the Green Line to avoid a shutdown on my neck of the Red Line, but after a heat kink fouled the Green Line on Friday evening, the planned shutdown on the Red Line was cancelled and it moved to the Green Line instead.  I didn’t realize that there was a shutdown on the Green Line until I got to Greenbelt station, but decided to just roll with it rather than get back in the car.  It’s okay, you see.  I did, however, spot an amusing license plate on the way in at Greenbelt station:

“CIAO BB”, a play on “Ciao, baby!”

Then on the Green Line, the train I boarded was only going as far as PG Plaza station.  Then it was off to the bus bays to do the shuttle bus.  I was a little nervous about this.  My only past experiences with a bus bridge were to get around emergencies during rush hour where everyone was cranky.  I had never been on a planned bus bridge before.  And it was remarkably painless.  The buses are there waiting at PG Plaza, they go nonstop to West Hyattsville, and then another nonstop run to Fort Totten.  And then back into the rail system. No problem.  This was not like the painful wait for the shuttle bus after the big Red Line collision in 2009.  Sure, it’s a little more time than the rail route, so my advice is that you may want to bring a book, but otherwise it’s pretty painless.

And at PG Plaza, I realized how good of shape I am now.  PG Plaza is in a deep open cut.  In the picture I’m linking to there, street level is at the top of all that.  And the stairs are long.  I bounded up the stairs.  I got to the top ahead of the tourists with the luggage going up the escalator next to the stairs, and I wasn’t even winded.  I couldn’t do that a year and some ago.  I would have eventually made it, but not running up the steps, and definitely not without taking a rest somewhere in the middle.  Go me.

Then back on the Green Line, I rode down to Gallery Place station.  And for those of you who want to know how Metro is doing the subtitles, here is the new lower level signage at Gallery Place:

New Gallery Place signage, lower level

I don’t know… I think there needs to be more “sub” in “subtitle”.  “Chinatown” needs to be a few points smaller than that, if there at all (I was hoping that the subtitles would only be on the map).  It makes the sign look crowded, since there’s no spacing between the station name and the service information.  For this, I was starting to wonder why Metro even bothered with the whole charade of renaming the station, since with that sort of signage, people are still going to call it “Gallery Place Chinatown”.  But there you are, I suppose.

And then it was three escalators to the surface, and I ran up all three of them.  Go me.  But then I tripped at the top of the third one.  Serves me right for showing off, I guess.  But I recovered and kept going.

I got to The Passenger just after 8:00, and I met up with Jorge and Christina, and had a drink.  I had some mixed ginger concoction that the bar made up.  It was sweet and spicy.  Not bad.  Later, a few other folks showed up, and we had a good time!

And this is one of the things that The Passenger had:

"Candy Bitches", which are bacon-wrapped peanut butter cups, deep fried in a Coca-Cola tempura.

Yes, you read that right.  “Candy Bitches”, which are bacon-wrapped peanut butter cups, deep fried in a Coca-Cola tempura.  It does not, however, come with the stent that is needed to clear out the artery that you are going to clog with it.  Patton’s sister Gabrielle ordered it, and I tried a little piece of one.  It was… something.  It’s a chocolaty, peanut-buttery, salty, meaty flavor that is somewhat hard to describe.  Try everything once, I suppose, but this is something that I’m probably not going to have again.  I told my sister about it over the Twitter, and she just loves the idea.  As I see it, this is a dish that was invented by the Internet, since the Internet has turned bacon into a meme.  I’m sure some people just love it, but it’s not my thing.

The Passenger was, all in all, pretty good, though it was a bit overpriced (or maybe I’m just cheap).  But they did have a problem with their air conditioning.  If you can imagine this, Saturday was, I believe, the hottest day of the year in DC so far, and it was warmer inside the bar than it was outside, and this was with the air conditioning on.  Apparently they need to work on their A/C, because it just couldn’t keep up.  It was very hot and very humid in there, and everyone was sweating like crazy.

Then before we left, we got photos:

Gabrielle, Genna, Christina, and me.
Gabrielle, Genna, Christina, and me.

Patton and Christina.  Gabrielle is peeking over Patton's shoulder.
Patton and Christina.  Gabrielle is peeking over Patton’s shoulder.

Everyone around the table.  I still don't understand why Tim decided to point himself sideways, but there you go, I suppose.
Everyone around the table.  I still don’t understand why Tim decided to point himself sideways, but there you go, I suppose.

And then after getting a hug from Christina, Patton, Genna, Gabrielle, and I headed out.  They were heading to Patton’s house, and I was going to Mt. Vernon Square station.  Walking up the street, I heard a cat meowing.  Then the rest of them heard it.  Then all of us started to see if we could figure out where the cat sound came from.  We thought it was coming from under a nearby car, but it turned out that the cat making the sound was in a nearby storm drain.  We couldn’t find the cat.  I’m not entirely sure what we would have done with the cat if we found it, but it’s kind of a moot point now, I suppose.

Then when I got to the Metro, I waited for my Green Line train.  And much to my disappointment, the new name signage for Mt. Vernon Square station has not been posted yet.  Take a look:

Mt. Vernon Square station, looking the same as always

Disappointing.  But I remember that it took Metro a long time to change all the Blue Line references from Addison Road to Largo Town Center when Largo opened back in 2004, so signage changes are definitely not instantaneous.  The most important ones were done quickly, and then the rest will follow in time.

Then for the bus bridge at Fort Totten, I finally got a New Flyer Xcelsior!  I’ve been trying to get one of those for a while now, and I finally got one.  These are the buses numbered in the 7000s, and they look different from the other relatively new buses, the DE40LFAs, also made by New Flyer.  That was kind of neat, since the roof hatches are glass, for one thing, meaning that they have a moon roof in them.  Pretty cool.

And I got one of the other passengers to take a photo of me in my PIDS shirt.  Take a look:

On bus 7027, wearing my PIDS shirt.

People keep telling me that I should start selling these.  A Metro supervisor at Fort Totten even told me as much.  When I redo the Online Store, I think that PIDS is going to have to go in it.

And then from there, I took the Green Line the rest of the way to Greenbelt and then drove home.  Not a bad time!  I need to go out like this more often, but going out for drinks is too bloody expensive.  Still, I had fun, and a little transit adventure while I was at it.

Web site: Metro: ‘Heat kink’ in rail likely caused derailment

Postscript: So all in all, not a bad evening out. I hope Christina has a great time in Hawaii!

Categories: Friends, Washington DC, WMATA