Hopping onto the Subway is an art form, a mastered craft of the most dedicated and experienced locals. In Washington D.C. the subway system requires a much more refined knowledge of train lines, not just north or south. We were tested a number of times as a group, our knowledge of the subway landscape, and a few times it got the best of us.
On our way to one of the last meetings of our trip, our busiest day in D.C. beginning with a meeting with Brian Lamb at C-Span and then Paula Kerger with PBS we were required to hop on the train to get off at Union Station. The red line had two directions and our fearless leader Jim had done quite well in NY knowing which subway to get on and off, allowed us to get ahead of him while he waited for Marty and Andrew telling the rest of the group to get on the train towards Shady Grove. The group got to the station at the Metro Center while I stopped to fill my ticket card. Just as I had finished I was walking down the escalator while looking on my phone as the train was about to close their doors! So I put my phone in my pocket and booked it down the escalator barreling through bags in my way and jumping sideways through the closing doors of the subway to make it, barely. I laughed a large sigh of relief that I had made it. An Indian gentleman was sitting in the seat facing the door and watched me as I searched my pocket for my phone. I had felt a little lighter as I entered the train but now that it had left the platform my heart began to race. The man now staring at me said to me very calmly, “Your phone fell out.” His words hit me like bricks. I was so upset that I had dropped my phone but hoped that it would still be on the platform if I were to get off at the next station and retrace my steps. What he said next chilled me to the bone. “No sir, it fell through the crack.” His face and voice had an unusually tame presence but knew that if he was right, then my phone was surely obliterated by the train. I sulked in my seat now devastated to have lost my phone to make a stupid train. Stuck in my wallow of sadness, a bystander to the whole situation intervened with music to my ears. She said, “Oh your phone fell through the crack? Don’t worry, it’ll still be there. I’ve seen plenty of people drop stuff down there, just ask the info desk they can get it!” I jumped from my seat, renewed with optimism that my phone quite possibly could’ve survived such dreadful circumstances. After getting off at the next stop and reversing track, my friend Jordan and I went back to the other side of the platform to find that indeed my phone had survived and was waiting for its ungrateful owner to rescue it from the train tracks. I held Jordan’s legs as he leaned over the edge of the platform and with his long arms managed to grab it before another train could come. I was so relieved. The only damage to the phone after the entire ordeal had been a long crack extending horizontally across the phone, but managed to retain all of its functions. I didn’t know what to call my experience that morning, can you really call it luck?