Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wherein the DCeiver Leads the Tired and the Deaf to Freedom from Fairfax County

So, Saturday night found us in Adams Morgan, rightly celebrating City Mouse's significant accomplishments in References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, enjoying the drizzle, meeting cool bloggers for the first time, and generally getting on in a nice way. There was beer, and banjos, and people from Belfast, and Randy was enjoying having other people enjoy his back yard, and, in general, it was a night much like the one that launched this blog, armed with the story of a young man who needed to poop eight times a day.

So, it's getting on to about 2:15, and I figure that it's time for me to fuck off to Woodley Park to catch the subway home. The torrential rains that fell were over, and I made it to the train station without incident. The station was full of people, but not packed, and everyone was blessedly low-key. Earlier that day, I got on a train having forgotten completely about the DC Chili Cookoff, and I swear I have never wanted to get off a train worse in my life. Everything was fugly, tattooed in that "Yes, I shall remain permanently unemployable!" way, and off the typical DC frequency by a country mile. The vibe folks were throwing was straight Gaithersburg. But, now, just after half-past two, everything was more or less serene, with only a hapless pair dragging a drunk idiot around like a sack of lawn clippings providing any alternative to normalcy.

I got to Metro Center, and was momentarily pissed to discover that I would have to wait 19 minutes for the outbound orange. More mad at my luck than anything else--I understand that WMATA has the capacity it has--it's just that 19 minutes is about the maximum amount of time you have to wait, and I usually fare better. As fortune would have it, the train actually ran a couple minutes early, so I got on, reasonably certain that the rest of the trip would fly by.

And, then, like a total schmuck, I promptly fell asleep.

Of course, the "sleep" part didn't feel like sleep. It felt like no time had passed at all. It felt like I had taken one rather longish blink, actually. But, looking around the car, something felt wrong. Deeply wrong. I turned to look out the window, to try to get an idea where I was from the passing streets. That's when it occurred to me: "Streets? I shouldn't be seeing the outside." This meant I had pretty much overshot all of Arlington. At that moment, the train slid into a station, and without thinking, I just got off, strode out and walked right up to the station pylon to find out where I had ended up.

Dunn Loring.


Now, I had only ever in my life been to Dunn Loring once, and that was to play in a soccer tournament. I remember that they had an exquisitely manicured field to play on, a far cry from shit-ass Bordeaux Field in Reston where my team usually played, which was like a muddy gravel pit that occasionally could be tricked into growing small clumps of grass. So, my memories of Dunn Loring are pretty much restricted to being on a soccer team, collectively amazed that we could, at last, pass the ball and have it end up at its intended destination, instead of in one of the many rocky ditches we were used to.

Now, fuck--I wasn't even aware the train always stopped at Dunn Loring. I guess I had always figured that it was like Arlington Cemetary--sometimes it stopped there. To be frank, I had for a long time just assumed that Dunn Loring, with it's vaguely Gaelicky sounding name, was like Brigadoon--some magical place that opened only every once in a while, and then you get off a train and dodge rainbows and ponies and a group of magical Dunn Loringers choir up and sing a bunch of warbly tunes at you--because they want to fill you with SMILES! and UNICORNS!--and they sing and sing and sing until your teeth grind and you think to yourself, "Good fucking Christ! It's no WONDER I never come to this god-forsaken place," and you pray the next train out of there comes quickly before the residents try to sodomize you with ambrosia and four-leaf clovers.

Well, Saturday night, at 3:40am, there wasn't anything like that going on in Dunn Loring. It was just empty and desolate. So, I had jolly well screwed myself. I wanted to avoid a $12 cab ride, and for my trouble, I was going to have to take an $18 cab ride. So, I went up to the station manager and asked her for the number of the local cab company. She went into her kiosk and didn't say anything for a long while. Then, she asked me for my name. Oh, great. She called the cab for me. Which I hate. I much prefer to make my own arrangements because it eliminated the confusion. After a few minutes, she came out of the kiosk.

"They'll be here for you in about 10-15 minutes."

"Okay...thanks. Just wait out front?"

"The cabs pull up in the parking lot, not on the road right in front of the station."

"Okay, great."

"Also, there's a woman out there waiting for her own cab. She's a deaf-mute. Could you make sure she gets where she has to go?"

Sure! You just unload your responsibility right onto me, lady! "What? She's deaf-mute? Are you sure about that?"

"Yeah. Can't hear? Can't speak? That's deaf-mute."

Yeeeaaah. If that was true, I was in for a real treat. The truth is, one rarely encounters a mute. This was going to be interesting.

I got outside, and there was nary a deaf-mute to be found. Just a large group of people yakking it up over under the 4A bus canopy and me. I walked out to the cab area, and immediately, a cab pulled up. I couldn't believe my luck! In fact, I didn't believe my luck. And, as it turned out, it wasn't my cab. Why didn't I just get in the cab while the getting was good? Sigh. Probably because I read the Blank Top Chronicles, and have learned that you should never jack someone's fare or leave another cabbie in the lurch. It's a great way to be thought of as a shitty customer or get blacklisted, and you surely don't want to end up as a blacklisted customer the next time you are stuck in Dunn Loring in the middle of the night, dying of unadulterated boredom.

The cab, as it turned out, was for the group moronically waiting at the 4A canopy. I called them over to get in their ride, and noticed that one woman didn't come with them. My deaf-mute, I presumed.

Figuring I was in for at least a penny at this point, I walked over to her. Too late did I realize the folly of using my life to only master a few select sentences in sign language, phrases like:

"You're retarded."
"I want to fuck you."
"You crazy, dancing turtle."
"I want to have a three-way (the cool kind), with you and maybe another deaf lady."

None of which were likely to prove useful. Fortunately, Wife of DCeiver was taking ASL, so I had learned a few more signs and how to fingerspell. Hopefully, we could keep our conversation simple. I walked up to her and waved.

"Hello. I'm deaf," she signed.

"I know." Hoping for the best, I spoke aloud, "Can you read lips?"

"A little," she said aloud. See...I knew she wasn't mute!

So we got our stories straight, bonding over my broken fingerspelling, which luckily, I didn't have to deploy to any extensive extent. As it turned out, she had fallen asleep on the train as well. Time passed and the waiting for the cabs continued. At one point, one pulled up that I assumed was hers, so I walked over to the driver to get things sorted out. Unfortch, it was just a random pull-in, and the guy could take neither of us to our destinations because he'd miss a scheduled fare. Argh--then don't tease us by showing up.

It was confusing as hell, and I found myself able to deploy another sign language sentence I had long mastered, "Sorry, I don't know what's happening." It's a pretty useful phrase to know, especially since after your three-way with the two deaf ladies, one of them is likely to ask you why you're crying all of the sudden. "Sorry...I don't know what's happening," you can say. The more you know.

So, at this point, it was getting to be about twenty past four, so I figured I'd better make one more diplomatic call to the cab company. I figured that there might be a fuck up on their end, but it was best to play it off--the station attendant, who called the cabs for the two of us in the first place, may have screwed up herself, and besides, I was the douchebag who fell asleep on the train in the first place, so it wasn't like I has some sterling track record to fall back on. The dispatcher told me that two cabs would be arriving in short order.

I explained all this to the deaf woman, secretly hoping that her cab would show up first. But, don't you know, it didn't. I really didn't want to abandon her after we spent the better part of the hour waiting all by ourselves in this leprechaun villa. Could this guy take her instead of me? No--his next fare was set up based upon where I was going. Could we ride together? No--it'd fuck over the other cabbie who was presumably on the way. However, the guy was really accomodating: I told him I was really nervous about leaving the woman there by herself, so he checked his onboard and then called his dispatcher, and waited until the dispatcher got verbal confirmation from the other driver that he was three minutes out. So, bravo, random Fairfax County cab company. You truly are the heroes. It just goes to show, as CVS, Starbucks, and gas stations go, so go cabs--once you cross the Potomac, the customer consideration increases by about a thousand orders of magnitude.

I explained all of what was going on the deaf woman and departed. All told, it was about five am when I finally got to bed, two and a half hours after I left Adams Morgan and probably two and a quarter hours later than it would have been if I just got a cab on 18th Street. So, lesson learned: never leave the party in the first place. You only get stuck in Brigadoon. Sunday was more or less shot because I had to sleep so damned late, but at least I got my karma laundered.

One regret: we never encountered any crazy, dancing turtles. Maybe next time.


Rusty said...

Oh, man. I've passed out on on trains twice. Both times it was the same realization...why is there an outside? Both times I, like you, woke up on the penultimate stop on my line. Dunn Loring at 3:30am sounds just as much fun as Rockville.

Danielle said...

My "passing out on the metro" encounter ended at Van Dorn with a DC cab driver who hit on me. Awesome.

hpmelon said...

It was great meeting you too, you damn rock star.

Mrs. Dementor said...

Wow, what an adventure! By the way, Dunn Loring is about a 15 minute drive from our place, you could have crashed here, amidst the unicorns and little people who sing in our yard every evening.

SAS said...

This is epic. Moving. Significant.

Randy should stage this instead of Gilgamesh, don't you think?

Jon said...

I used to live a few minutes from Dunn Loring. Getting a cab there after rush hour is a total disaster. Luckily, the only bad thing that could possibly happen to you in Dunn Loring is dying of boredom.

Bob said...

The subdivision in Virginia Beach where I grew up was called Brigadoon and my street name was MacChonanchy St. That's a baptism-by-fire for a 4y.o. learning his address. Alas, no unicorns for playtime friends.

My falling asleep on the metro story begins with drinking vodka at lunch at a bar in Midtown called Acme Bar and Grill - anyone remember it? I fell asleep heading back to Fairfax on the orange line and woke up one stop farther away from Fairfax than where I had gotten on on the first place. That's one heck of a nap. Crazy college kids with their lunchtime vodka...

I love the Blank Top reference, because I was thinking the same thing as I read.

(off topic - have you tried Wasabisito yet?)

The Deceiver said...

I have tried Wasabacito. It's basically become an offsite annex to my kitchen. (The salmon anticucho? HOLY SHIT that is GOOD!)

divine ms. k said...

I am glad to see that the ASL stylings of one Mark Slack continue to dominate the collective subconscious of a certain subgroup of UVA alums, circa FYP 1992-1994. Woo hoo!

Anonymous said...

i found you with a google search for "i want to fuck that radioactive turtle"