My trip towards Insanity


Last night we had every intention of going to the rally on the Mall today along with the manservant’s brother and his 3 kids and a couple of friends.    Everything started to come undone this morning.

The manservant came down with some nasty flu bug during the night; then his brother called to say he was not coming to town as one of the kids was sick.  Then I got a text message from our friends to say that they’d gone to their metro station and could not get on a train so were going home to watch all the hoopla on TV.

Not one to be so easily put off I decided to go alone (and, isn’t alone the usual way to go insane).   At my metro station I discovered that I’d just missed one train and a 7 months pregnant girl on the platform told me that she’d let 2 trains go past because they were overflowing (poor thing was just trying to get to work!).

The board showed the next train was 12 minutes …..   PA announcements were continually being made about overcrowded platforms and imploring people to please start back from the edge!

About 3 or 4 minutes before our train was due one going in the opposite direction pulled into the station and a zillion people got out and crossed to our platform.  Obviously things were tougher down the line so they hoped that by going in the opposite direction they’d have a better chance of getting on a train up the line.

Then with less than 2 minutes to the train a PA announcement was made that the Archives Navy Memorial Station, where I was getting off, was closed due to a “suspicious package”!

I started an internal debate asking how much did I really want to do this; a debate that was still going on as the train pulled in and I squished inside; the only thing holding everyone in place was the pressure from all sides of other bodies.   The driver announced that the train would not be stopping at Archives …. –  ‘though I could get off at a station further from the Mall and walk  I started thinking about all these people also needing to get home after the rally and the whole afternoon started to look a lot less fun.

The “not” team won the debate and I got off at Columbia Heights and Restored (my) Sanity with a bit of retail therapy in a different type of mall to the one I’d set out for:  

A pass through the Farmer’s Market where I bought some “cave-aged”  Cheddar :

A quick look inside a new shop/museum (fun!) :

I picked up some Empanadas for a late lunch  – Chilean for me and Jamaican for  the manservant:

And, a cinnamon bun for tomorrow morning’s coffee:

I got back home in time to see some of the Rally on TV:

So this was as close to the National Mall that I got today:


38 responses

  1. Yikes! I don’t do well with big crowds. I tend to be like the bull in the china shop, just push my way through the sea of people to get out. Love the retail therapy option though. LOL

    • There have been stories on the local news tonight about the “overwhelmed metro”. There were so many people on the escalator at one station that the escalator collapsed (or whatever the technical term is) resulting in people being carted off to hospital – not a good end to the day for those people.

      The manservant is big so in crowds I usually shuffle along behind him as he plows a path as you describe! 🙂

  2. Holy cow! You made a valiant effort, but I certainly don’t blame you for giving up. That did sound like the sanest thing to do!
    I really enjoyed the sanity on tv!

    Retail therapy is good, too! 🙂

    • I might have made it if there were other people with me but on my own it was easier to just give up. There were about 5 of us trying to get out of our railcar at Columbia Heights and 100 trying to get in – not waiting for us to get out first. It was one of those situations where you just want to knock the rude people down!

      Retail therapy is good for the economy too. 🙂

  3. What was in the Unnatural History Museum? I’m really curious to know. And the cave-aged cheddar sounds delicious. Hope you got a good wine to go with it.

    I missed the rally on TV because I got caught up in housecleaning. 😦
    But I’m sure they’ll rerun everything on Comedy Central later.

    • LOL – I don’t think I’ve ever been “caught up in housecleaning” ! I am having a chunk of the cheddar now with a Bogle sauvignon blanc – waiting for dinner – it’s so good, I might not need dinner!

      The Unnatural history Museum is the “storefront” of a non-profit writing center which has had programs in DC public schools for about 2 years. Its objective is to teach kids about writing and reading and the shop is full of “curios” with names like “confused wood”, “Dung Beetle Bait”, “Stink Bug Bait”, Unicorn Tears, Koala containment vessel (a bottle). I think the items are handmade by volunteers and the sale of them helps to fund the workshops and field trips.

      I think it’s a fantastic concept and I look forward to taking the manservant back when he’s not all feverish. The organization has a website – which I don’t know how to embed :

    • Yeah, I do retail therapy better on my own too. I heard one person today say that they were dealing with the metro for 2 hours between waiting and riding – on a trip that normally takes 20 minutes! She was much keener than me; but she is also a lot younger!

  4. I miss more things close to home than far away. All the years I never went to the Macy’s Day Parade when I lived in NY and then the Rose Bowl when it was ten minutes from my house in CA. The rally was fun. I prefered John to Stephen. I wanted it to be a bit more political and maybe make a wee more fun of the idiots.
    That mall looks so much better than a mall, mall. Empanadas? I would love some right now. Crowded trains are no fun.
    Can’t wait to see the signs once the pictures all get posted.

    • Apparently the metro had more than 800,000 “trips” (not people) on Saturday – the highest Saturday ridership ever. I heard horror stories at work today about the commute so I think I made the right decision to get off and get really good cheddar and Empanadas instead. Columbia Heights has a high Latino population which means some really great food. The Washington Post had a site where people could upload photos of signs – last time I looked there were over 400 and some of them were very funny.

  5. Goodness gracious. You certainly made the right choice! Retail therapy sounds like just the thing to help restore sanity after the squished train ride you had. I am sure you had a better view, when you got home, on the TV!

    • I’ve read that the people at the back (of which I would’ve been one) were calling out “louder, louder” because they could not hear anything, let alone see anything. Apparently there were not enough jumbotrons and speakers for depth of the crowd.

    • All the years I’ve lived here and I’ve never been to any rally/demonstration on the Mall – I don’t cope well in crowds. I think I made an effort with this because we’d planned on going for so many weeks that I was sort of mentally geared up to do it – until I found myself alone and crushed on a train! LOL.

  6. A part of me would have loved to have been there and I made a lot of noise about wishing I could have gone, but that noise was made from the security of knowing I couldn’t, and I hadn’t even thought about what a jam the Metro would be. Yikes. Big crushing crowds aren’t my favorite thing, whether at home or away.

    You made a valiant effort and changed your plan only when confronted with clear evidence that it was the right thing to do. No one can find fault — plus you got some great grub!

    • The grub was fabulous! Yeah, the metro really struggled – it didn’t help that they were doing trackwork on a couple of lines either and have a few stations with one entrance closed – not to mention the on-going problem of non-working escalators. Saturday was the highest ridership ever for a Saturday – must’ve been a real pain for those that were just trying to get to/from work!

  7. Sounds like our National day here. I’ve been avoiding the city center for years now, because I have absolutely not patience with crowds anymore. Or well, it’s less the crowd that annoys me rather then people being so inconsiderate. It’s all me – me – me.
    So I don’t blame you for changing your mind and going home. Especially with all the additional obstacles.

    • People are incredibly self centered, selfish and rude when they get in a crowd. (crowd mentality). I had difficulty getting off the train because the people waiting on the platform just surged forward and started shoving their way in the door. I pushed and shouted “let people out first” – ok, i probably swore too! 🙂

  8. What a misadventure!

    It looks like I tuned in about the time you did – from Missouri, half the continent away 🙂

    Sorry about theIck. If it’s what tagged me, it’s pretty bad. The people I gave it to at work (therefore “behind” me on the timeline) are still quite ill. It lingers! So, well-wishes to all your sickos!

    • The manservant was not feeling good when he went to bed Friday and he basically spent both days of the w/end in bed – in the spare-room! He’s still not 100% today – I’m just hoping I dont’ get it – no time to be sick.

  9. thats life….but a good way to make a good day for you….here today it is cold with rain-but the autumn here was very warm-better as the summer here…and so I think the winter will be hard and cold here this year….geez….I hate it and you know I say no…….:-)

  10. OMG, I’ve totally been there. But misery loves company, if I lived closer I would have totally gone with you! I’m impressed you were not deterred by all the setbacks. I have not heard of cave aged cheese! Sounds good.

    • Yeah I think I would’ve soldiered on if I’d had someone else with me or meeting me. The cheese is matured in caves because they are cool and the humidity is consistent making a great environment. I think this one (all gone now) came from Virginia producers.

  11. Too bad you didn’t make it to the rally. Sounds like you had a wonderful time instead, though! Heard good things about the sanity rally. We could use a bit more of that here, no?

  12. Way to go Emjay! You took what could have been a very stressful day and turned into something quite the opposite. The empanadas & cinnamon roll sound wonderful. By watching the rally on tv, you probably had the best seat in the house. Hope the manservant is feeling better.

    • Sticky Fingers make the best cinnamon rolls (sticky bun) I’ve ever had – they are vegan (so the manservant calls them “fake”). The manservant is still coughing and sneezing like crazy – at least the fever has gone but it looks like this thing might hang around a while.

  13. You do remarkably well for a girl from the country Emjay.

    The farmers market is very neat and tidy compared the shambling arrangements they have around FNQ.

    • I did have a good time Robbie – I enjoy wandering around Target even if I don’t buy anything. My chair infront of the TV was way more comfortable than standing too! 🙂 Plus, I didn’t have to line up for port-a-loos !

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