Sunday, May 17, 2009

Little Trouble in BigTown #1

I stepped off the plane to BigTown U.S.A. and took a breath of the surprisingly chilly air. One year after my previous adventures in Smalltown, I was going domestic once again.

BigTown has an enormous and extremely well developed underground metro system, and though the Japanese, Germans, and British are all shaking with laughter, and though none of the trains run on time ("This train will be delayed 90 seconds due to schedule changes"), and though they all look like John Travolta and Denzel Washington should be having a face-off about them, and though if there is a nuclear attack we'd all be dead, they are nice little oddities in Autobahn America.

I come from a town that has talked about bringing in a "light rail" system basically forever. It won't happen, and many natives are naturally quite po'ed about it. I don't think much of it, since we like our highways just fine in the Author's hometown. But riding the Metro is slowly making me rethink that brush-off. It's clean, relatively efficient, makes you feel free and existentialist when you stand on the platform deciding which train to get on, and makes for some killer Fallout 3 levels.

On the other hand...

The warm air from one of these Metro stations puffs up into your face in a wave when you descend into the depths via escalator; it's an intentional reference to Hades by the station designers. In fact, the entire Metro is designed to reference Hell in many ways: the hot air/heat in general, the crowds, the underground location, signage over the door ("Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here" and "Support Local Radio"), paying Charon/the SmartTicket fare, and being stuck there forever ("This train will be delayed 90 seconds due to schedule changes").

Fortunately, I was able to get to where I was going: The Capitol.

You've either been there, or seen it in textbooks, or watched the travel channel special on it. It's worth it. I will write more on this later.



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