Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The New Sucker

This is not Joel. I'm Sydney, his editor (and female, in case you're wondering.) He guilted me into doing this, and I have to say that when I heard the news this morning about the horrific terrorist attack on the bus and subway systems in London, I thought "Where the hell is Joel when you need him?" Of course, even when he's supposedly working I never know where to find him, but we'll save that for another time.

Like you most likely, I was deeply disturbed to hear about what happened in London. Can't say I was surprised though. It occurred to me right after 9/11 that the D.C. subway system would make a stellar terrorist target. I mean, this is not New York. We don't have the population density -- no skyscrapers, and you can actually walk the streets without brushing shopping bags with someone. But just think about the Farragut North stop at rush hour, that bleary mass of humanity huddled on the platform, practically asleep, hardly a Homeland Security ad for public readiness. If you're on the train and lucky enough not to be blown up, you'll need the focus of Serena Williams to make it to a tunnel ledge or platform without electrocuting yourself (have you ever read those directions in the subway cars??? very depressing) On the platform, getting out of the station on the escalators would be like trying to climb out of Hell on a Slip 'N Slide. Thinking about it is enough to make you stop feeling silly for reporting a lone bag on a subway bench. (Who among you out there has really done that?)

Getting out alive is so fraught with traps that I find myself hoping that the people talking on cellphones at the subway entrance are actually undercover guards. And that man with the steely glare riding next to me-- isn't there such a thing as a Rail Marshal? Of course, Clark Kent would be ideal.

A colleague of mine once told me that if disaster strikes we should all pretend we're foreign correspondents. Stay calm, consider the options. I found the advice immediately comforting. It made sense. If Post correspondents can brave bullets and beheadings to get us the news in Iraq, can't we at least think on our feet during a subway attack?

I'm sure people who experienced the attack in London today would tell me it's not that simple, and of course it's not. We here in Washington understand that more than many. But for the grace of God go we.

-- Sydney Trent

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 7, 2005; 1:20 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Fisher Out. Next Victim.
Next: Kids Who Shop Too Much

Comments

comments?

Posted by: pete | July 7, 2005 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Fresh meat! Who's cuter, Sydney or PtheP?

Posted by: jw | July 7, 2005 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Who's cuter, Sydney or PtheP?

Posted by: jw | July 7, 2005 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I really want to know! Ugh. I quit.

Posted by: jw | July 7, 2005 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Hi Sydney the Runaway blogger. i woke up with the news. But the first thought that I had was: "Are the subs going to write about it in the Achenblog". Then I thought "I am not sure if I want to look at it today" "Maybe I'll check and be a lurker"

Posted by: fdg31 | July 7, 2005 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Sydney probably already regrets enabling the comments function . . .

Posted by: Tom fan | July 7, 2005 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi Sydney the Runaway blogger. i woke up with the news. But the first thought that I had was: "Are the subs going to write about it in the Achenblog". Then I thought "I am not sure if I want to look at it today" "Maybe I'll check and be a lurker"

Posted by: fdg31 | July 7, 2005 4:28 PM | Report abuse

(Sorry, I didn't mean you, fdg31 -- I was talking about jw's lecherous comments.)

Posted by: Tom fan | July 7, 2005 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The comments have been enabled! Hallelujah! Unfortunately I used up my best material over on the other blog commenting--in a round about trash can sort of way--on this one.

Posted by: Sara | July 7, 2005 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Sydney. I was born in Sydney. I love Sydney. I miss Sydney . . .

Posted by: Achenfan | July 7, 2005 4:47 PM | Report abuse

yes, the thought of getting out of the metro in a panic might resemeble a hellish slip-n-side. but have you ever considered the opposite?

each day i go down the escalator i think "man, i'd be at the platform already if i could just hop on the shiny section and surf down to the bottom". for those of us who never got over banister-sliding, the metro escalators present a powerful temptation. if only there weren't those little bumps every so often.

Posted by: edward | July 7, 2005 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, the trash talk can be dragged on for a lot longer, if we just try....bomb-proof trash humor never gets old

Posted by: LP | July 7, 2005 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey, the trash talk can be dragged on for a lot longer, if we just try....bomb-proof trash humor never gets old

Posted by: LP | July 7, 2005 5:00 PM | Report abuse

and neither does double-posting comments

Posted by: LP | July 7, 2005 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness the comments have been enabled! At this point, posting to the previous entry was a little like being the kid sibling in the back seat at a drive-in movie while Sara & jw sat up front...

Posted by: Cubedweller | July 7, 2005 5:16 PM | Report abuse

My roommate is fairly gullible. I try and convince him to slide down the middle of the escalator every time we ride Metro. I think he is close to cracking.

The Red line escalators seem to have the best distances. You should be able to get some good speed on the ones between Dupont and Medical Center.

Posted by: Dawaldg | July 7, 2005 5:16 PM | Report abuse

My Mum is deathly afraid of down escalators. She refuses to go on them. Up escalators she is fine with. Her logic is that if you trip and fall on a down one, you have a long way to go.

There was also an incident in Boston a few years back at the Aquarium stop, when it still had single-person width escalators. A whole grouple of grade-schoolers was going down when the front one tripped at the bottom. Little kids started piling up, and well, you can imagine what happened. Not good.

Posted by: jw | July 7, 2005 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Sydney, the clue about finding Joel is in his new title, 'His Porchness'. He is likely right now at this very moment sitting on a fine porch somewhere......

Posted by: dr | July 7, 2005 5:36 PM | Report abuse

If ever in San Francisco, I hear Sydney's Restaurant is pretty good.

Posted by: Baggins | July 7, 2005 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Sydney-
You're doing great. You've gotta know it's killing Joel to be off duty on a big news day, right? So you've got that going for you, which is nice.
To get more in the right frame of mind, you might want to drink WAY too much coffee, obsess and overstress yourself for a few hours, indulge in an intensive inquiry into an obscure scientific subject about which no one except you cares in the slightest, and finally open a mediocre - but properly chilled - bottle of red on your back porch.
The rest will come naturally.

Posted by: Achenabler | July 7, 2005 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Sydney-
You're doing great. You've gotta know it's killing Joel to be off duty on a big news day, right? So you've got that going for you, which is nice.
To get more in the right frame of mind, you might want to drink WAY too much coffee, obsess and overstress yourself for a few hours, indulge in an intensive inquiry into an obscure scientific subject about which no one except you cares in the slightest, and finally open a mediocre - but properly chilled - bottle of red on your back porch.
The rest will come naturally.

Posted by: Achenabler | July 7, 2005 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Bush's performance today merit some comment? His statement - in a ridiculous brown suit (his idea of how Europeans dress?) - in Scotland was typically incoherent and evocative of his doppleganger (Chauncey Gardiner). He had that heavy breathing long pause between sentences thing going, which is always a sign of his nerves when he has to make the rare unscripted, unteleprompted statement. He is the master of axiomatic banalities. BTW, how about Condoleezza Rice's pronunciation of "allies" ("ul-LIEs"). What's up with that? Is she channelling Churchill? Trying to sound smart?
Thank goodness these geniuses had the foresight to raise the threat level to orange for mass transit today. Don't know WHAT we would have done without that guidance!

Posted by: SubwayShy | July 7, 2005 9:47 PM | Report abuse

PtheP's cuter

Posted by: Ryan | July 8, 2005 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey, SubwayShy, I think you might have done a disservice to Chauncey Gardiner there.

Posted by: Achenfan | July 8, 2005 9:18 AM | Report abuse

In No Way Out, the big foot chase scene at the Georgetown Metro Station (HA! HA!) has Kevin Costner sliding down the center shelf between escalators. It's a weird scene for the Georgetown stop and the MTA (Boston?) trains. But there you go, it can be done. And there were the little bumps on the slide, as I recall. Who says actors don't suffer.

Posted by: SlipnSlide | July 8, 2005 10:28 AM | Report abuse


Okay, Achenabler, tell the truth. Your real identity is Gene Weingarten! You just know way too much...but then again Gene probly would have put it much funnier. Come to think of it, Gene has been slipping lately...

Posted by: sydney | July 8, 2005 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Okay, Achenabler, tell the truth. Your real identity is Gene Weingarten! You just know way too much...but then again Gene probly would have put it much funnier. Come to think of it, Gene has been slipping lately...

Posted by: sydney | July 8, 2005 12:46 PM | Report abuse

0707 attacks on London were exactly 3 yrs and 300 days since 9/11.

Posted by: nottamember | July 8, 2005 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Again, cue Twilight Zone music.

Posted by: Dreamer | July 8, 2005 2:09 PM | Report abuse

jw - your mum and i have something in common! is anybody here as frightened by the Rosslyn metro escalators as i am? i mean, boy, i can't even look down when i ride down, scares the bejesus outta me! i just imagine myself tumbling down over and over and over. i've been skydiving and that didn't scare me as much as those escalators! And to think of having to walk up that behemoth in the case of an emergency!!! *shudder*

Posted by: maureen | July 8, 2005 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company