Divine Intervention

So, there I was at 8:25 am at the Friendship Heights Metro station thinking to myself, "I haven't updated this blog in five days. I need to write something."

I couldn't help it. It's hard to keep up such a negative blog when the weekend was so positive. I attended my first entire Nationals game* and I had a blast. Saturday was also the first time I had noticed Pride Week, and the block party atmosphere was something I've felt that DC has always been missing. And in addition to Pride Week, I was able to enjoy this delightfully novel drinking game called Beer Die. I hope to spread Beer Die to the outer fringes of the esteemed DC Late Night Shots Club.

So, good weekend = crappy blog.

Then, after a two minute wait, my train comes.

And it never leaves.

Like the clouds parting above me, the Metro fucked up so badly that it ruined the mornings of thousands of commuters. The train was emptied out and towed backwards towards oblivion.


And I shouldn't complain. I was at Ground Zero of this Red Line debacle, but, if anything, that worked to my benefit. The poor souls at Van Ness and Cleveland Park were the true victims. The next two trains were filled with Friendship Heights passengers. The third was filled with Tenleytown passengers. If you were unlucky enough to be waiting for the train past that, you had to wait for four or five trains.

It's good to know we're getting the most out of our $1.65.

(Related topic of hatred: Verizon. Why is it that Verizon users can use their cell phones on the Metro and I, a Cingular user, can not. It's very hard to call into work when my phone has the dreaded zero bars. Are Verizon signals that much stronger, or did Metro royally fuck up and take some kind of payoff from Verizon? I did some basic research (Google) and I couldn't come up with anything. If it's because DC cut some sweetheart deal, I am going to go apeshit since that is the most retarded thing the city could have done.)

*I went to a Nationals game that was delayed for three hours by rain. That was not so much fun. Because...wait for it....the train broke down and had to be evacuated. It's an experience that never gets old!


  1. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    Time to go apeshit. DC took a deal from Verizon. I can't remember the particulars, but I'm sure one of your other loyal readers can.

    I wish they hadn't taken ANY deals, because I hate hearing people talking at 7 a.m. about their pedicures or what movie they saw the night before. Honestly, what the hell is so important that you need to be on the phone at 7 a.m.? I can tell you're not talking about work or a family emergency, so wtf? Unless your BFF lives 7 time zones away, I really don't see why 7 a.m. is prime phone-tine.

  2. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    I believe Verizon has indeed cut a deal w/ Metro and is the only wireless provider to offer service in the tunnels. And it's probably money well spent, because I know it was certainly a factor when I was switching cell phone providers.

  3. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    Couple of years ago metro let Verizon install equipment throughout the metro system allowing its users to discuss what's for dinner and why they are shitnoses. One shitbshiner was talking for 30 minutes next to me on the train once. I wanted to drop kick the shitgobblin.

  4. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    i believe verizuck's deal goes on for at least another ten years. exclusive.

    otho, NYC is requring that whoever gets the bid to wire their tunnels makes them GSM -and- CDMA compatible.

  5. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    I can see chatting a bit on commuter trains, but on the subway there is really no reason. I hate it when some dude is trying to impress everyone else w/ his hip lingo or some gal is using her brassy, blousy upper middle-class LOUD voice.

    The best are the really boring business calls, however, which fits because it is in fact a work day.

    "Yeah, Dick Putnam here. We'll sign those contracts today. Yup, umhmmmm. Bub-bye!"

  6. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    Quit your whining, Rusty. It was a great business move by Metro. You'd be lauding it if the tables were turned.

    Those of us talking on our cell phones at 7 in the morning are laughing with our friends at your stupidity.

  7. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    Wait, so did Verizon cut a deal or not? It's just sooooo hard to tell from the crapload of posts all saying the same thing.

    I like posting things without reading what other people already wrote too.

  8. I don't mind people talking on their cell phones in the Metro.

    I mind DC making a shortsighted business decision. I am sure more money could have been made if Verizon didn't have an exclusive contract. Instead of one provider paying the big bucks, Metro could have had Sprint/Nextel, T-Mobile, and Cingular on board as well. I am sure all three would have been happy to pay to get service in the Metro.

  9. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    HA. good blog.
    Re: Verizon-Metro... I'm upset that when my train is blown to peices by terrorists or catches fire because of faulty wiring in the rancid air conditioning system, all of the Verizon customer will be able to call thier loved ones and say goodbye. The rest of us can eat shit, apparently.

  10. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    I think all gays should be tested for HIV/AIDS before they are allowed to ride the Metro, attend a Nats game, or own a cellphone.

  11. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    You can also use your Verizon cell phone to detonate the bomb, right?

    Reach out, reach out and touch someone.

  12. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    I used to have Cingular and I felt the same way you do now about the metro connections. But I hated Cingular all the way around. With Cingular I was dropping calls on a regular basis on all the major highways of DC and most of all on 66. I finally switched to Verizon, and YES it is a little bit more expensive for the basic fees, but it was well worth it. The only time I have to deal with dropped calls now is when I'm talking to friends on Cingular, T-mobile or Sprint.

    That company that did the dropped calls test that Cingular talks about in those new anoying commercials SUCKS! I get angry every time I hear that commercial.

  13. "NYC is requring that whoever gets the bid to wire their tunnels makes them GSM -and- CDMA compatible."

    Sure but I expect to be able to use my cell phone on the NYC subway in approximately 25 years. Not that I'm complaining because I love the quieter morning commute.

  14. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    Now that we've exhausted the banal cell phone conversation, perhaps now we can talk about airlines!

    What is the deal with airline food?!

  15. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    Verizon does have a deal with Metro. Verizon has antennas in the tunnels. However, the officials at Metro allowed themselves to get lowballed and they are prohibited from allowing other cell companies to place antennas in the tunnels. About a year or two ago when we had rate hikes, the Washington Post did a piece about how the Metro/Verizon deal shafted riders because the low price that Verizon paid could have been much higher (for exclusiveity) and that Metro could have collected more money from all cell phone providers resulting in lower fares for passengers. Way to go WMATA. Their lawyers need to get a refresher course in Contracts.

  16. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    Yeah, Lawyers are cool.

  17. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    Hey DC Sucks--

    Hear, hear! Dropped calls on the friggin Beltway -- through McLean, no less -- was the A #1 reason I dropped Cingular after almost 9 years with them. It was getting tiresome.

    What's annoying is that people on cell phones don't realize they can speak in their normal voices to be heard on the other end. I was waiting for a bus yesterday and this guy 20 feet away was talking so loud I could hear him over my iPod.

    It's too bad they can't have a quiet car on Metro like they do on the Amtrak trains to New York and Boston.

  18. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    It's not DC's fault it's WMATA's fault, a technicality. So Verizon has an exclusive agreement that they are paying chump change for. When it was time to renew, WMATA said keep screwing us and our customers. You can keep your exclusive deal for no money. I have Verizon and can't get a signal half the time. Which is fine with me until I want to talk to somebody at 9:00 at night while waiting 15 minutes for the next train to come.

  19. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    I second the notion of a quiet car!

    And people please, decide on your ring tones when you're alone--not when your at a busy restaurant. I came very close to grabbing this girls cell phone and dropping it in her iced tea after the 10th time she replayed her "Baby Got Back" ringtone to her friends.

  20. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    Missy --

    What phone are you using? And, where do you live? Except for once, way out in the boonies, I've had more signal than any of my other friends with other providers---even when we we were using the exact phones. I have found that all services get better signal strength with Motorola phones. If you have an Audiovox phone--forget about it, they suck!.

  21. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    I think the WMATA deal with Verizon only nets metro about $38,000 a year, which is not very much.

  22. If it's less than $40,000 a year...my mind can't even comprehend that.

  23. AnonymousJune 13, 2006

    oops, wrong figures. Metro has a contract with Verizon until 2017 for about 331,000, or about 27,500 per year.


  25. ARGH! I wish Cingular customers like us could use our phones on the metro, too...mainly to get back at all of those Verizon users who annoy me on the way back from work.

    Ever notice that even when you're on a standing-room-only train during rush hour, there's only ONE person talking...and its almost always on a cell phone?

    That and "urban erotic tales" are the bane of my commuting existence.

  26. CANDYLICKER by Noire! I've been meaning to post about that...

  27. The only reason I wish my phone worked in the Metro was for the reasons Rusty explains... when the train breaks down and you're going to be an hour late to work.

    (Un)fortunately now, I just experience Metrobus on a daily basis.

  28. When I first moved to DC in 2001, which is about the same time I think phones started to work on Metro, I believe it was explained to me that Verizon is or shares the network the WMATA workers use, thus that is why it is the only provider that works. Although, this sounds like a nice way to say that Verizon got in and made WMATA their bitch by making WMATA use their network and blocking all other carriers towers. Knowing every douchebag that uses their phone on the metro is a verizon subscriber has been enough to keep me from ever subscribing to them, so how is that for backfired marketing?!?!

  29. back in 2002, i had sprint, and it would work in the metro. but it was on analog roaming or something like that.

  30. AnonymousJune 15, 2006

    I was on that train too--It made me late for a meeting. Ah, the joys of Metro...
    I heard from someone that Verizon actually has cell transmitters in the tunnels. As a Verizon user, I'm not complaining, but it sure sucks for the rest of you.

  31. AnonymousJune 15, 2006

    It's not cheap to build an entire underground network, which is what VZW did in '97 (when VZW was known as Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile). There was no Cingular then, Sprint PCS was known as Sprint Spectrum (which I believe was bought by VoiceStream, which in turn was bought by T-Mobile), and AT&T Wireless and Nextel were just getting off the ground. Only VZW had that kind of money to spend, and in return, they get to share revenues with WMATA! (I'm not sure if it's 50/50 or what.)

    If it makes you feel better, you can use a Sprint phone on the Metro too (roams on VZW's network).

  32. Well, whatever the benefits, there's no good reason to tie yourself up with the evil and incompetent force that is Verizon Wireless. "Worry-free guarantee" my ass.

  33. AnonymousJune 17, 2006

    I have Verizon and love it...so F U.

  34. AnonymousJune 17, 2006

    maybe they chose verizon because verizon undoubtedly has the best service in the DC area. I've had Sprint, Cingular and Verizon and sorry, but Verizon is the best (though their phone selection blows) service in the area. If they allowed Cingular on the metro, you can bet you'd be rattle trapping like everyone else for about three seconds until your call was dropped b/c you have Cingular.

    I personally never use my phone on the metro unless I'm running late for work or another event. I can somewhat understand people who live out in the burbs hitting up their family on the way home to tell them to have dinner waiting.

  35. AnonymousJune 23, 2006

    It was one helluva sweet deal, and you don't even need to know the particulars. If it weren't for the fact that Verizon sucks giant hairy donkey balls, has lousy customer service and continues to NEVER STOP WORKING FOR YOU, I might have stuck with them. But I dig Cingular and wouldn't trade them for anything right now. Not even to call into work and let them know I'm going to be late.

  36. AnonymousJune 24, 2006

    I was at a dinner with a Cingular manager a few months ago and asked what they're trying to do about this. Apparently the other providers (T-Mobile, Sprint/Nextel, and Cingular) have formed a coalition to advocate getting service in the Metro system. But even if they work out a deal to get their antennas (GSM) into the system, the problem is finding time to install the infrastructure, since they can't work when Metro is running. In addition, Verizon controls all of the land lines that tie into the current Metro cellular infrastructure, so they have to deal with that issue as well.

    The point is, the other companies know their customers desperately want this, and they are working to come up with solutions, but I wouldn't hold my breath. In the meantime, get a CDMA phone if you want to annoy your fellow train riders.