Monday, January 08, 2007

subway accident in my hometown

Not a line I took very often-- the Green Line. It apparently jumped the tracks, and at least 18 people were hurt.

With little warning, the northbound Green Line train began to shake and bump as the wheels of one of its rear cars left the tracks about 3:45 p.m. Part of one car hit the wall of the tunnel. Shattered glass and other debris tumbled to a car floor. Lights went out and shouting passengers ran through darkened cars, according to witnesses.

I don't normally think about disasters involving public transportation, but in the back of my mind I know that it would suck immense, leprous balls to be caught in one. The screaming, the shoving, the reflexive crotch-grabbing (one's own or others')... not for me.

While I've never been in such a crisis situation, I've seen plenty of weird shit on the Seoul subway, including an incident last February involving a crazy, red-faced dude who was busy trying to kick out subway windows. Dad was with me at the time. We kept our cool and observed the dude with some amusement. The passengers had all given the guy a wide berth; he was making good progress on one window in particular.

If all the world's a stage, then subways are life's black box theater: I've seen fights between grown men, I've seen vomiting drunks, I've been stared at by people who looked as though they figured I needed taking down. One thing I've never seen on the Seoul subway, however, is sex. I did happen to see this in the most unlikely of places, however: the "Red Square" of Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The GU campus main entrance is at 37th and O Streets, NW. If you go in through the main gate, the first thing you see before you is the famous statue of our founder, John Carroll. Walk inward past Johnny, then turn right when you're at the Copley Building. Keep Copley on your left, and keep walking straight for almost a minute. Once you're past Copley, you find yourself standing on a sea of red brick; across the way is the ICC Building, in which I took most of my French courses. That sea of brick is Red Square.

It was perhaps 2am some fall night during my sophomore year. I was walking through Red Square on my way back to Copley Hall, which was my dormitory at the time. If you stand in Red Square and look out toward the Jesuit cemetery, you notice that Red Square actually morphs into a sort of amphitheater plus a set of stairs. I remember hearing a noise, and walked closer to the edge of the amphitheater. There, out in the open, was a couple in mid-rut, going at it quietly, clothes rustling.

Couldn't see faces. Thought about shouting just to shock 'em. I had to admire their brazenness, mating in plain view. I walked on, and that was that.

All of this is to say that, if you're going to be in a subway accident, you should plan well and keep some condoms handy. Because you just never know.


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