This afternoon, for the first time since I’ve been living out here (5 years now), I screwed up and got on the wrong train coming home from work.
For those not familiar with the area and who can’t understand how this can happen, let me explain. There are two trains that come through my station at work, the Yellow line and Blue line. My train is the Yellow line. In addition to up-to-the-minute train signs on the platform, Metro has recently added this information to signs on the main level. These signs show the next three trains that are coming. When I got into the station this afternoon, it said the next train was going to be a yellow line train in 1 minute.
I was wearing sunglasses. Also, a couple of the escalators down to the platform were out of service, which meant I had to go to the farthest one. As I swiped my card, I saw a train coming into the station, and figured that was the Yellow line. The sign had said 1 minute and I figured I’d caught it when most of that minute was up. I raced down the stairs to make the train, which I did.
I was listening to my iPod so I couldn’t hear any announcements.
The train left the station. The next stop was Pentagon. At this station, I had a slight suspicion that I might have conceivably gotten onto the wrong train. So I looked at the sign as we pulled into the station (being too stubborn to pull of my earphones to hear the announcements). The sign was indicating elevator outages. I waited. And waited. The doors closed and as soon as they were closed, the sign changed back to the train status and I saw that I had, in fact, gotten onto a Blue line train.
I took a deep breath and decided not to back track. Instead, I took the long way home. I rode the Blue line 9 stops to L’Enfant, where I switched to the Green line and took that home. Even with my error, I was still in the door by 5 PM.
Still, for someone as conscious of their surroundings as me, this is pretty embarrassing. But it’s only fair that I share my embarrassments as much as my accomplishments. I don’t expect this to happen again, however*.
*Something similar happened to me when I lived in L.A. Sometime in 1995, I was driving into work and my mind was preoccupied by something. I missed the 4th street exit and ended up having to take PCH all the way to Chautauqua and then figuring out how to loop back around to Ocean in order to get to work. It happened once and it was the only time it ever happen in 8 years of driving that commute.