Oh The Challenges You’ll Have

Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: May 3, 2011

Ahhh, Mondays. Especially Mondays after the Boogieman has been vanquished. Most of the office here in our DC headquarters was abuzz with the talk of Osama getting taken out by a US Black Ops team comprised of Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer. In fact, the night before, GF and I raced out to the front of the White House when we heard the news, really to find out, much to our chagrin, that it was a thinly-guised fraternity party mainly consisting of people to young for 9/11 to have any gravity on the kind of milestone it really was.

However, it was an event. With energy. Lots of it. And I’m glad we went. Not necessarily to be a part of the party, but to embrace the importance of such a milestone. Too bad it was drowned out by college kids singing “We Are the Champions” and chanting

“Osama, You’re Fucking Dead. USA Rules!”

“USA! USA! USA!” could be heard blocks away when we parked and as we finally came to the front of the White House, GF pointed out it was more like Mardi Gras. Yes, there were people there showing off their patriotism, but moreso, most of these kids thought it’d be neat to bring a case of Natty Lite in front of the White House or dress up as Green Man (from It’s Always Sunny In California,) or do little stunts to try to get themselves on network news. One guy climbed a tree and sat in between some branches, all the while wrapped in an American flag. Oh, the cameras loved him. I guess, so did mine…

Kinda a douche, IMHO

Well, all in all, I’m glad we went. Not something I’ll tell my grand-kids, but all the same. But, it was kind of one of those things that would drag you out of bed to go be a part of if you lived in DC. Or I would think…

Getting to work on Monday, I was surprised at how many people I had to tell, “Yes, look at the news. We got Osama.” And, mind you, this wasn’t at 9. This would be at, like, 11 when I asked them in my ironic fashion,

“Why weren’t you at the party last night?”

“We killed Obama??”

“No… Osama. Bin Laden.”

And what wouldn’t be complete without Mr. Clean advising me to ambulate to his annex for an assignment of the utmost urgency without later showing any sign of what has been going on in the world?

“Mr. Paralegal, how are you?”

“I’m doing good, Mr. Clean. Yerself?”

“I am well. I seem to notice more foot traffic on the street today to pick up my cereal.”

One strange thing that I have noticed is that the one displaced modicum out of his impeccably spotless office is that he has a zip-lock half full of Cap’n Crunch on his desk. Well, at least he nutriates with the finest of products.

“I must ask you to procure me documents from the EPA. It is necessary for my review that I have an itemized index of a rulemaking from this past decade, along with any comments posted by such important entities as [client names retracted for the obvious ‘duh’ reasons.]”

Now, that phrase he just used, “itemized index”, is extremely redundant and I would think it would be one of those ‘paradoxes’ which would cause artificial intelligence such as Mr. Clean to crash on the spot. Obviously the powers of Cap’n Crunch are greater than we as humans know.

So, I go out to the EPA for my task. Fortunately, it’s a place I’ve been before and I have my favorite clerk who always helps me out. This shouldn’t be any problem. Normally, a request such as his means that he was unable to grab the comments made by individuals and companies on a particular rulemaking off of the government’s vast database (regulations.gov) and needs for the clerk to physically pull them. Normally, the documents don’t total over twenty pages. I hand the clerk the docket number which Mr. Clean didn’t just recite to me, he wrote down (that part is important as it will play its role later,) and the clerk begins her search.

Index comes right up, no problem. But then the computer begins to work. You can hear it begin to whir and chug inside its government issued Y2K Approved tower. After about 2 minutes, the search for comments brings up a result of about 6000 comments on one rulemaking. I ask the clerk if she can narrow it down to just the clients I need. She does. The filtered result is now at 4500 comments. I hope to God that Mr. Clean doesn’t make me go through all of that.

I bring the documents, loaded onto a CD back to the office and tell the robot attorney. Unstartled, he tells me to search through them and pick out any of them that reference a common type of element. This cannot be done easily. I literally must open every document and peer through the comments.

Working under attorneys, whether they be younger or older than yourself, you quickly realize that no matter what, they are right. No matter how far removed their requests are from reality, they are right. No matter how much more logic you inject into their request by suggesting another path, they are right. I don’t really understand how this happens. I’ve never experienced this in any other field or with any other type of boss. Is it a particular required class in law school I’m unaware of? Illogical Reasoning 101?

I curse under my breathe as I walk back to my little alcove in the universe that is this firm and begin this unduly task. After 4 hours and 600 comments, I pick up the phone to Mr. Clean.

“Mr. Clean, what exactly is your expected time frame on this project?”

“I would like to have it all by COB [“close of business”] today.”

“I really don’t know if that’s possible. It’s 4:30 right now and COB is in thirty minutes.

“Why don’t I send over what comments I’ve compiled so at least you can go through them.”

And then he sighs. Pause. He sighs again.

“Mr. Clean?”

“Okay, please send them to my inbox.”

New Message. Comments Attached. Sent.

Five minutes later I get a reply email: “Can you swing by my office to explain the comments?”

For his utter lack of casualness in person, Mr. Clean somehow is able to pull it off through email. I bet he’s asking his secretary to write it. However, this comes across as a major point: When attorneys act like this (casual with their co-workers), it actually makes less of a need for me to write blog posts. About them.

In his office, Mr. Clean is sitting, stooped down at nearly a right angle, peering at print-outs of the comments I sent him. As I enter, he slowly (and rather creepily) bends back to vertical position.

“Mr. Paralegal, I do not understand these comments. I asked for comments on [blah blah blah], however all I see on these pages are [bleh bleh bleh.]”

It should also be noted that he never gave me specifics on what to look for in my little mission to the EPA. He only gave me the docket code, which normally is enough to go on. Now, I was given 6000 comments on a rulemaking Mr. Clean does not want at all.

“Well, Mr. Clean, that is the docket number you gave me. And I don’t believe the EPA reading room clerk, who has helped me many times before, would not know how to pull up documents. Perhaps we mistook the wrong docket number?”

Near the end of the day, I tend to get crabby and I can easily shoot my mouth off if I think someone is accusing me of making a mistake. However, I have learned that using the term “we” is very conducive to keeping the peace with the attorney. He doesn’t realize you are still showing that you blame him/her but really are accepting you will share the blame, even if you have had nothing to do with a particular decision. Attorneys need a lot of ego stroking for them to stay comfortable.

Mr. Clean sits there for a moment, continues to look at the comments and ponders. I mean, ‘computes.’

“Okay, Mr. Paralegal, why don’t I challenge you.”

Challenge me? In what? A dual? A game of checkers? My skill of origami? What the hell… Am I no longer an employee but a pet you get to teach tricks to?

“Why don’t you procure for me the brief that created this rulemaking. It is over ten years old, so it will not be on any digital database, such as PACER or WestLaw, but you should be able to find it using your paralegal skills. I need it before I go home.”

“Mr. Clean, I can certainly get the court to pull it from archives, but if you look at your watch, it is 5:02. All courts close at 5.”

“So, call our librarian, Mr. Paralegal!”

The long and short of it is that I did call the librarian of the firm and the librarian, like nearly all other salaried staff, had left for the day at 4:30. I wrote him an email telling him it was insufficient time to be able to do anything about getting the brief tonight but that we could do so first thing in the morning. I just wasn’t up for a fucking challenge at 5 in the afternoon when I could be going home in 30 minutes. And since it’s obvious he still didn’t pick up that Osama was killed and since he has no trace of understanding humor, I decided instead to send him a really old parody post about Osama getting captured instead. Challenge me. I’ll fucking challenge you, Mr. Clean. How do you like that?

This Bracket’s Asphyxiating Me

Categories: Day at the Firm
Comments: 3 Comments
Published on: April 15, 2011

There literally is no better feeling than getting to work to see the envelope containing your paycheck invoice on your seat. It’s that feeling of, “Yes! That means I won’t be evicted for the next two weeks!“, “Yes! I can finally pay off a 10% of my anger management sessions!“, “Yes! I can eat something other than Beanie-Weenies and Alpo!” I’m sure the partner across the hall from me (who doesn’t even need an envelope with the tallied amount for the last payment period) has just gotten an email from his financial adviser telling him that because he set aside an automatic transfer of 28% of all new firm shares to be put into venture capital, he now has enough to buy a small Caribbean island. Well, good for him.

But, I’m not him and that is the last thing on my mind. Right now, I have money. I have something that I didn’t have 24, 12, even 2 hours ago. It has magically appeared in my bank account and now I can do whatever I want with it. Mwahahahaha– Oh, wait… Well, shit… Paralegal Hell!! Why did you have to remind me of my eternal responsibilities? Well, thanks SO much. I guess I’ll wait off on buying that one belt for work and keep wearing the same belt I’ve had since I was 14. (Yeah, if only my waist-size was still anywhere near that size. I think it’s doubled since then.)

Still, you all know that feeling of excitement that comes over you when you know you’ve worked well into OT and you’re waiting for that check that will make you feel like Scrooge McDuck diving through a pool of gold coins?

 

Well, at least that’s how I feel. And being at a law firm where you sometimes have to fight tooth and nail to find billable hours to justify your overtime, the big overtime checks can sometimes be a rarity. Well, this was literally the first check I’d received this year for work over 90 hours in two weeks. (Sad, I know, right?) Cumulatively, I had put in 119-and-one-quarter. Bam. I knew I was going to be rich! Richy richy rich ri— What the fuck? What the…. why am I only getting paid like $100 more than what I usually get paid? Where did all that time I put in on the weekends go? Where did all my money go? Where did my fucking gold coin pit go??? 

I seriously have a problem with taxes. And the government. At least right now. Evidently, it doesn’t matter HOW much I work. I am still going to end up with roughly the exact same amount because of what the government decides to take out. I couldn’t give a shit if I see my money at the end of the year. I want it now. I want it now so I can do with it what I please. Government, today is your special SUCK IT day from me and I’m sure a lot of other people out there. You are a sadist for not only taking out more than enough, but also for making your Tax Day happen on Pay Day. You made my frown go from upside down back to down. Bitches.

 

TODAY in Continued Legal Education!

Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 5 Comments
Published on: April 6, 2011

I am supposed to be learning about Civil Litigation right now. That’s what I got my firm to pay for. I have the headset on. I am listening to the teacher. I have the slides up on the screen. But, in reality, I am playing Tower Defense. Yes, it’s a great time-waster, especially when my conference-call instructor is rambling on about the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, describing her five cats and giving us subsections that don’t match up with the specific rule we are supposed to be discussing.

“Now, Rule 3 says that when you file a complaint, you’ve started a civil action. So, remember that subsection (d) here says you must send it through first class mail, accompanied with another copy and an stamped envelope with the return address on it.”

Evidently, she’s mixing up the rule on commencing civil action with the procedures for a defendent’s waiver regarding a summons. It’s interesting how the legal association I picked to take these courses has marketed this lady as being a member of four separate state bars and the president of some prestigious school in the early 1980s. I’m not really sure how much of this is true, but I try to believe it all. Perhaps time has just worn away a once great mind. Maybe she was an incredible litigator in her day. It’s hard to imagine that at this moment, because I have this PowerPoint presentation both on my screen and in my hand. And I know she’s looking at the presentation at the same time we all are, but suddenly she’ll just randomly veer off topic and start talking about a completely different subject that doesn’t even enter into the realm of necessity.

“I remember all those years ago, when I was just starting in the legal field, there was a clerk in the courthouse named Beth. You didn’t want to cross Beth. She even scared me once, because I gave her too many copies of the brief I guess. So its important to remember here that you need to always go by the rules of the court. But, then again, Beth had some sort of nervous breakdown and now I think she’s in a mental hospital somewhere… So, let’s continue on to what different types of counterclaims there are.”

I swear, I’m relaying what she’s speaking. Verbatim.

This woman kind of reminds me of my mom… One of those ladies that makes you really wonder what color the fireworks are in their head. The other day, my mom was trying to make me feel better about my next oral surgery and very matter of factly tells me:

“Last time I went to get my bridge worked on, they took the thing out of my mouth and this terrible smell came out. I mean, JUST terrible! They then pulled a piece of meat out. Then I remembered we had filet Mignon for dinner last week.”

Yeah, I know. Gross. But, that’s my mom. I think with age, people (and in my estimation, women especially) gradually lose control of their verbal filter. After 60, communication is straight up stream of consciousness… or maybe unconsciousness. I’ve seen it happen with my mom and it’s evident this woman is well on her way. It looks like we’re all on the verge of a Chatty Cathy pandemic..

 

 

Symptoms May Vary

 

‘Tis the Season

Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 5, 2011

It started out like this last year, I remember it quite well. Well enough that once it was over, I immediately began fearing it’s coming for the next year. I am on my morning Metro train at 9:40am. Any other day, I’d have missed the morning rush and would be one of about five people in this car: four of us being the late-comers to work that will soon be chastised by their coworkers for their tardiness; the other one being the unmistakable window-licking tourist. Today, as it will be for another 89 days or so, I will be sharing my once peaceful train ride with an extra 200 window-licking tourists.

This is because at the dawn of civilization (circa 1900,) the Japanese were invited to come plant a bunch of cherry blossom trees all around Washington, DC. Fast forward a century and they are all over the place. And, my my my, they make our country’s monuments even better to check out. Which is why tourists from other nations decide DC is the best place to take their vacation. From about April until June we will roughly receive a billion tourists to our town because the trees just make our monuments so much more damn beautiful. It’s also inevitable that during this time, I will cross paths with each of these billion lost and confused tourists.

Today, I am surprised to find a seat on the train. Well, perhaps not as surprised as the large, amorphous tourist whose girth has overflown from “it’s” side of the seat onto the vacant side. I made no hesitation to make my seat on half of it’s leg. Curiously, though, it didn’t seem to mind, since there was no movement or reaction, not even a twitch. It just continued to stare out at the budding cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin around Jefferson’s Memorial. Something made me think it may have been salivating and I really wanted to tell it that the trees in fact produced no cherries. But, I didn’t want to ruin it’s trip.

It’s this time of the year that actually makes me want to be at work as quickly as humanly possible.

Now, the problem with living in a town frequented by tourists is that there is an overwhelming feeling permanent residents get that we plainly do not exist or that we are a pseudo-attraction at a zoo or something. Almost like we all are frozen in one of those dioramas the tourists would find in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and we depict human life, but, in reality, we really aren’t there.

Many towns seem to revolve around their tourism. Their economic heartbeat comes from the money brought in from visitors. I’m not sure if DC would necessarily be subjugated to the same live-or-die scenario if suddenly tourism fell off. After all, it is the seat of American government. However, I am probably not alone in thinking that most residents of the District would have no qualms in seeing one less group of bass-ackward tourists all on their Segways with that one son who just can’t figure the dang machine out.

Click to See Stupid Segway Tourists


So, if you come to DC, here’s a small list of things that YOU can do to not beleaguer the actual people who live in the city:

  1. When using public transportation, traveling through a mall, going anywhere, do not become an ESCA-LEFTER: One who stands to the left side of an escalator, not realizing that the right side is for standing, the left side is for walking. We could give two shits less if you and your chum are having a fascinating convo about that neat-o IMAX presentation you saw on Black Holes at the Aerospace Museum, other people have shit to do and you’re blocking them from being able to do it.
  2. If you really think you’re part of the cool crowd, wearing one of those CIA or FBI hats you just bought at one of the ten thousand sidewalk carts in DC will prove to us all that you are not. Take it off and keep it in your bag until you get home and can surprise Cletus and Krystal with your mad talent.
  3. Do NOT bring a whistle to round up your troops. Our eyes are already blinded by the fact you make your group of middle-schoolers wear matching neon-green t shirts so you don’t lose them. I’m sure you don’t know how to pronounce ‘collateral damage’, but that’s what you’re doing to us every time you blow that thing.
  4. Fanny pack. Don’t. Just don’t.
  5. We actually keep this place pretty clean. See that trashcan? I know you do, because there’s one within ten steps of where ever you stand in the District. Put your soggy chili cheese dog wrapper in that. Not on the sidewalk.
  6. If you see us walking faster than you, don’t ask for directions. And if you ask for a picture, we’ll take your camera and keep on walking. Seriously.

In sum, I want to give you the message of my rant:

doing overtly obvious things like these will not only aggravate the piss out of everyone around you, but (and I think you would have really thought about this before you bought two dozen bright orange TEAM SALVATION GOES TO WASHINGTON! t shirts,) you become an easy target for crime. Even if the crooks don’t pin you out at first, perhaps your already annoying nature will make them think twice about what ever it is they do.

 

Your Bandwagon Parked In My Spot!

Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: March 8, 2011
DC is an odd town. I do not at all want to say negative things about it, because I love it. When I lived in Baltimore for that stint and commuted down, I marveled at how absolutely clean everything was. I didn’t even have this down in Atlanta! But, Baltimore? There, you get used to stepping out the door into the collection of litter from people the night before or stepping out of the vehicle into human… I won’t go there today. But, man, DC? In DC, you have your own little man follow you around sweeping up the cigarette butts you toss. I mean, those guys in City Hall take pride in showing this place off!

 

Which goes as no surprise that DC would also love showing off how GREEN it is. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going green. I work in Energy and Environment law and if there wasn’t an urgent need to look towards the future in this way, well, I would… just have to find another practice to be a paralegal in.  Even so, I do believe in peak oil, that we’ve passed the so-called “peak” and that we need to find other ways to sustain ourselves. My heart goes out to whales and to dolphins and to 80’s style mullets, however I do think we take things a little too far sometimes, and DC is a great example of this.

 

A few nights ago, I watched “Waiting for Superman,” which if you do not know, is a documentary about how stupid we are. In the more discriminate version, it’s about how our country has completely let go of our own educational system. It analyzes where we went wrong and how we may be able to fix it. One of the main plotlines showcases the District as the lowest area of the country in terms of education rate. I think they said something like 18% of 5th grade kids could pass a 3rd grade test. Yikes. Something would tell me where to put my tax dollars.

 

Instead, at the beginning of last year, because of the growing concern of plastic bags floating in the Anacostia River, the town implimented a five-cent tax on every plastic and paper bag you use at any store for your groceries, beer, and personal items you would not like the public to necessarily see. Twenty percent is returned to the merchant while eighty percent goes to… no, it doesn’t go to education… it goes to cleaning up one of the two rivers in DC. ONE. The problem with environmental initiatives like this is that:

 

A. They pull on the heart-strings of the public, because who doesn’t want a pretty planet? Therefore, they can create a huge mob of followers who you can command like mindless zombies

 

2. They are able to tax the public FOREVER, because, just like the War on Drugs or the War on Terrorism, there is no definite end to pollution.

 

and

 

D. This tax does nothing to actually regulate the force which is creating the pollution in the first place, only those which are distributing it (ie – factory makes plastic bags and lots of pollution in its wake, but is not taxed; people throw plastic bags away and somehow the bags always end up in this same river.)

 

I apologize for that somewhat weird economics tangent we just took. But, tying into this go-green craze is suddenly my firm. Yes, my big corporate law firm. The law firm which keeps every single light on in every single hallway on both of its floors turned on 24/7. The same firm which may be the sole reason the Brazilian rainforest may disappear before the glaciers atop Kilamanjaro due to the paper it wastes through shredding and NOT recycling. This firm has decided to take on a Green Initiative. It’s ridiculous, really, even though it’s been in effect for like a month, it still makes me laugh to think about.

 

In order to spread goodwill to our clients and let them know we care about the Earth, we are now printing on both sides of the paper.

 

Okay. Before you say anything, yes, that is definitely the stupidest thing, if not the laziest thing I’ve ever heard of. But especially for a LAW FIRM. Only Dunder Mifflin depends on more paper. The sheer amount of paper we go through in a week is staggering. And, yes, this would really make a difference if… IF… if half of things we printed didn’t need to be single-sided per the rulemaking of every Federal and State governing body we apply to! Even if the Clerk at the courthouse in My Cousin Vinnie got a brief that was double-sided, he would send it back without a stamp. Who came up with this idea??? Oh well, I guess the lawyers don’t have much room to complain about this… we’re the ones having to print everything for them.

 

DAILY REASON FOR LIVING RATIO: 2.45

Karma Police

Categories: Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,
Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: March 7, 2011
I’d like to think that I am pretty efficient in my morning routine. In fact, I would go so far as to say extremely efficient. Ridonkulously efficient, even? I time every motion I make from the time I wake up and get out of bed to the time I get to my desk at work down to the minute. I am like a well-oiled machine. At least I used to be. I don’t know where the sidestep was. Whether it was that I became lazy or got a girlfriend or started receiving back payments on bad karma, I can’t tell you, but despite my best intentions, I CANNOT get to work on time. When I lived in Baltimore, I had no transportation of my own except my feet. This meant taking the walk to the bus, taking the bus to the train station, taking the train to DC and taking the Metro to my office. All in all a 2.5 hour trek. I timed that if I could wake up at 5:45 each morning, I could be at my desk, at the earliest by 8:30, when my bosses would arrive (that is, if I hit literally every lucky break, like the conductor forgets that he has to stop for the other stops.) This meant pour coffee and let cool down while getting ready, a 7 minute shower, get dressed in 3 minutes, eat breakfast and drink coffee in 4 minutes, put tie on in under 1 minute, grab bag and be out the door by 6 AM.

These days, you would be shocked and awed to see me up before 7:45. Make that 8. I live literally less than 3 miles away from work, about a block away from the Metro and on one of the least crowded subway lines in the District. So, why on Earth would I be getting in LATER than I would when I had that two-and-a-half hour commute to worry about? It’s one (or a combo) of three things:

1. New girlfriend in the picture = harder to get out of bed in the morning
2. I had no life back then
3. The Karma Police have come gunning for me

Now let’s at least try to deconstruct the last one. The thing that motivates me to get to work in the morning more than anything else is not because I can’t wait to say hello to all the attorneys and ask them how their weekend was and how much more their wives hate them. It’s the digital time card. You have to sign into your computer, sign on through an Internet portal, wait for your dinosaur computer to gain speed to launch the certain Java app because Windows XP is just way too processor-intensive, and click Clock In! (Smiley Face) The program is insufferable because it counts off in incriments of fifteen minutes, but gives you a 7 minute grace period between each. That sounds great until you are at your desk at 9:37, focused so hard you could be shooting mind bullets at your screen as it attempts to load the clock in button. It finally does load, but before you can click the button, the time changes over to 9:38. (And then someone calls about the TPS Reports…)

So, this is why I try very hard to get to work promptly. It’s not that I expect to DO anything for the first couple of hours. But if I get the chance, I’d like to leave before sundown. Because of the Federal Full-Time Alotment of Wage Workers Time Per Week Act, we all must work a precise amount of hours each day, even if we are way ahead of ourselves For instance, we have 90 hours by Thursday, Boss is like, “Well, I don’t need you for Friday. Take off if you’d like.” We’d still have to come in on Friday. Because IT’S THE LAWWWWW. I also like to sleep. I try to get as much sleep as I possibly can. The formula I use to maximize my sleep and minimize work time during the daylight period is called the Reason For Living Ratio. It is fairly simple, just figure out what is the earliest you can get to work, what is the average amount it takes to get ready, and how much you want to sleep.

Circling back to my Karma, I am late. Sometimes purposefully, but sometimes I also just forget that I have a job. But the vast majority of the time, I am scurrying along with all the others to work. My private New Years Resolution was to never get in after 10. I’ve broken that 5 times so far. Four of which have been in the last two weeks. I can attest that these four instances do not reflect the possibility that I am lazy. For instance, today I wanted to get to work early. Earlier than usual actually, because I knew I’d be getting in later tomorrow because of a doctor appointment. I look up to see when the metro leaves the station so I can be there when it arrives. I leave and get to the station without a hitch. It’s when I get to the escalators, it all goes to shit. DC is a tourist town. Just like NYC and San Francisco, I guess, each year trabillions come to DC, and it all starts in the spring. Well, this must be the first week. There was a grade of school kids (I’m not talking a class on field trip here, it was A GRADE) trying to walk down the single down-escalator (which of course happens to not be working today.) How I would have thought bringing 150 little kids could be at all easy if I were a teacher planning this is beyond me. So, the escalator is literally at a standstill with these kids, who are not moving. I feel like I should have brought a machete as I try to get through this jungle of little kid. One third of the way down, my train comes. I start pushing a little harder, but don’t want just push these kids out of the way, because, well, I’m not that bad of a guy. The doors open for the train. Two-thirds down. Keep pushing, keep pushing. “Stand Clear Of The Doors.” That’s my last call, and I’m on the platform! All I have to do is make it through this last swarm of kids and… shit.

Well, c’est la vie. I can always wait for the next train. After all, I’ll definitely be ready for that one! So, I get on the next one fifteen minutes later, with the rest of the ten-year olds. I’m standing in the middle of the car, holding one of the sidebars because we are all crammed in like sardines when halfway down the tunnel we come to a complete stop. Now this is when metro train operators can get really annoying. 99% of the time they stop, it is because there is another train sharing the same track ahead of them that needs to go on. So, in order to not collide with that train, we stop somewhere in the tunnel. Now, if the operator already has this piece of information, would it be necessary to start the train back up again, go about 50 feet and then make another complete stop? I only make this point in the defense of the hundred or so people having to hold their balance on the train while the operator pumps the breaks. This happens from start to finish. Thinking I was going to somehow arrive at 9:15, I am getting in just as the grace period ends for 9:45.
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