Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fort Worth: A Public Transport Odyssey, Part II

Oh bro! BRO.

Part two of FW:APTO

After leaving the bus, I walked south on McKinley.

It was 7:00 and the sun was still up. I decided to see how the terrain was because I would need to walk this same route back in the dark. The half-mile walk was the main reason why I brought the flashlight, in case I needed to find my way... and avoid being robbed of my possessions.

I walked past garbage piles, a woman who blocked the sidewalk with the gates of her house, a dead cat, and several barbecues that were going on. One barbecue was hosting plenty of kids, plenty of which were jumping in a bouncy castle set up in the backyard. 

After walking the half-mile quickly, I was bit out-of-breath, but I had finally reached the school. There was construction going on, so in the parking lot now there were portables. I cross the street and remember the last time I was here, back in 2011. I walk onto the school, and see nothing. I walk past the portables and see no cars whatsoever. 

In my mind, I think, "Oh hell. It's over. I came all this fucking way for nothing."

I look through some doors that enter into the auditorium lobby and see the doors being propped open by music stands. I try to open them, but they're locked. Thinking of the open auditorium doors, I figure, "Maybe someone is inside and can tell me what's going on here." I walk around to another door, but find it locked as well.

Finally, in a last ditch effort, I walk to another door that leads to a hallway outside of the auditorium, but connects to the rest of the school. The door is open, someone left the doormat in between the door jamb and the door, so it doesn't close. I swing the door open, and listen for something.

Nothing. No music, no sounds, except for the buzz of the lights.

I walk to the main auditorium doors and look through the windows. It's dark and empty. 

I swear. "Goddamnit, no one's here! I fucking missed everything!"

I walked down the hall, all the way to the administrative offices, to a statue of horse (or a lion?) that they have in the main foyer. I reach the statue and look at the staircases. Nothing.

As I walk back, I notice the security cameras, so I decide to leave. Before I do, I'm parched, so I gulped down water. To make sure no one is there, I walk past the fountain to another hallway. I'm met with more silence.

I finally walk out of the building, but make sure that the mat is still propping the door open.

As I walk back to the parking lot, I see two buses, with the director of the Mariachi standing next to one of the bus drivers. I put my arms back and say, "Hey, where is everybody?!"

I walk towards him and he tells me they're just getting back. He says, "They had it at Paschal this year." I ask why, and he responds, "Too many kids. There wasn't enough space here."

We chat for a bit, and he asks me what I'm doing. I lie to him, saying I'm going to school, and when he asks me how I'm doing, I go "Eh" and move my hand up and down. I'm really embarrassed  the fact that I came thirty miles for nothing, so I walk away. Second mistake. I should have asked him for a ride to the ITC, so I could catch the next train. Instead, I just walk away. I regret doing that.

According to Google Maps, I walked for 1.7 miles. After walking away, I got lost in Suburban Fort Worth. After asking for directions, I walked right to a bus stop. I noticed that near the bus stop was a convenience store. I walked over and bought myself a gallon jug of water. I was so thirsty I could have drunk the entire thing if I felt like it.

As I sat down to drink the water, I saw a bus pull up on the opposite side of the street. Figuring it was better to get on now then thirty minutes from now, I decided to just run for it. I emptied out my cup, grabbed the jug and the gallon and ran for the bus. 

I crossed the street not giving a fuck, to the point where I almost got run over. All that mattered was catching that bus. As I got to the other side of the street, I yelled, "STOP THE BUS!"

Somehow, the driver heard me and stopped. 

I made it to the door, and huffing, told the driver, "The pass... is in... my wallet... can I show... it... to you... later?" He replied, "Yeah, don't worry about it."

I dropped down in one of the front row of seats. There was a nurse sitting in the first row of seats, and across the aisle, a woman holding a Jack in the Box cup. I flashed them both a smile and they did the same.

The bus drove off and as soon as we reached the first stop light, I gave the driver my pass.

The bus drove the entire route, and stopped again at the place where the first conductress had stopped and where the man-and-son disembarked. 

After a five-minute stop, we drove off, and I fell asleep. A man wearing a sombrero had boarded with a large satchel, and along the way, we picked up another man, wearing a white t-shirt with brown khakis. 

Somehow, around 8.40, we arrived at the ITC station. I was the last one off the bus, and before I got off, I said to the driver, "Thank you so much for stopping the bus. You don't know how much you helped me tonight." I extended my hand out, and he replied, "You're welcome, sir." I wished him a good night, and I walked onto the platform.

I knew I had just missed the train, so I went on to the ITC building, to take care of business and etc. While in the bathroom, a sudden alarm came on, and a voice said, "ATTENTION TRE PASSENGERS! THIS IS THE LAST CALL FOR THE LAST TRAIN TO DALLAS. THE TRAIN WILL ARRIVE AT 9.05. I REPEAT, LAST CALL FOR THE LAST TRAIN TO DALLAS TONIGHT. IT WILL ARRIVE AT 9.05." He ended his message with "good night".

I rushed out of the bathroom and back out to the platforms.

A small group of people were walking to the platform and I asked a man carrying his daughter whether or not they had heard the announcement. He said he hadn't and I told him the last train was due at 9.05. He spread it around. I looked at my phone and it read "8.49".

Complete starving, I ended up going to the Subway around the corner. A few people were sitting inside the restaurant when I walked in; their gazes hit me at once as I entered. I set my duffle down at a table and ordered a sandwich. 

As I was leaving, this young black guy walked in, and asked one of the ladies at the counter whether or not they knew where a fire station was. They didn't, but asked why he wanted to know. The man replied that his brother worked at one and was coming off-duty soon. He wanted to catch-up with him once he was off.

One of the ladies, who had cursed at a man who simply entered and exited, messing up her freshly-cleaned floors, told the young man in a sweet tone, "Okay, sweetheart. Why don't you sit down, and we'll see what we can do." I left as they were going to help him out.