Archive | July, 2012

Day 16 – Don’t Tropic Anymore

31 Jul

In PR terms, I had a “Tropic Like It’s Hot – Part 2” post “in the hopper” for a day when nothing else happened. Today is the day I am going to share with you the second set of lovely, hilarious and Atlanta-appropriate Tropicana ads throughout Five Points station.

I’m doing this today not because nothing of interest happened (OK, well nothing of interest happened) but also because THE ADS IN FIVE POINTS CHANGED. I don’t know how often this happens, but I am very sad about it. The Tropicana ads made me smile each morning and ready to take on the day. Not any more. Granted, the ads never quite got me to buy a Tropicana… Needless to say, I’m glad I took these pictures before they changed it to Discover ads. I guess it’s appropriate that the red-headed step daughter of the credit card world find it’s home in the red-headed step daughter of the mass transit world. I digress…

I hope you enjoyed that. The Discover ads are not nearly as cute/quirky/perfectly Atlantan. May we all hope for the day when the Tropicana ads return.

-gh

Day 15 – I didn’t take the Marta

30 Jul

I took the Marta on Friday, nothing happened and no post.

But today I didn’t take the Marta. It was kind of nice to have control and drive my car, but I definitely had a few close calls but I made it in one piece. I’m taking my brand new MacBook Air on the Marta tomorrow so that will be interesting. I once heard joke, “Want an¬†adrenaline¬†rush? Cash your paycheck and then take the Marta.” I guess I’ll find out tomorrow! This post isn’t very interested.

On another note I started training for a half marathon today. So, yeah, that’s news. Never run more than 2 miles at one time before. So I guess maybe I’ll post a little about that on here too.

OK give me a break on this boring post, it’s Monday. More news tomorrow as Atlanta votes to possibly “Untie the Knot” and pass a transportation referendum that is to improve the Marta and other traffic issues in the city.

Here’s a picture my roommate sent me as motivation to begin training for the half today:

I think I’m the blonde. You pick which one.

Yep.

-gh

Day 11 – Cry Baby, Cry

26 Jul

Today work got out early (HALF DAY!!! YEAH!! Haven’t had that since high school!) because the real employees got to do a field day (FIELD DAY!!! YEAH!! Haven’t had that since elementary school…wel,l still haven’t because the interns couldn’t go) so around 12:30 I headed back to the Marta to go home.

As I got back to Lenox station and was heading up the escalator, I thought it would be another non-bloggable journey. That was until a Sweet Young Man asked if he was headed the right way to the mall. At the Lenox station, if you go right you go to the parking lot, if you go left you ¬†get to the mall. Sweet Young Man was, in fact going the wrong way. I told him to go back down the escalator to the other side of the ¬†station and that would bring him back to the mall.When I told him he was going to the wrong way he looked sad and defeated. I told him not to worry, it’s not a big deal.

I’m not surprised he got so sad. He must be the type of person who gets sad a lot. I mean, he even had two teardrops tattooed under his right eye. Sweet Young Man.

-gh

Day 10 – I miss two

25 Jul

With all the wonderful things the Marta gives me, there are two things I really miss about driving to work:

1. Calling people on my way home from work. I was really loving being able to use that hour-to-go-nine-miles-time as a way to catch up with friends and family. Marta goes underground so there’s no cell phone service… Can’t decide if that’s a blessing or not.

2. Listening to music. Pandora, Elvis Duran in the Morning, country music, etc.

That’s all for today.

-gh

Day 9 – Turbulence

24 Jul

I remember the first time I ever flew on a plane without a parent. My sister Christina and I were on our way to our grandma’s house in Iowa by way of Chicago O’Hare, which at the time (1997) was the busiest airport in the U.S. When you are 7 and 10 and traveling alone, they require you have this “hostess” lady who brings you between connecting planes and out of security to your parents/guardians or whatever. So Christina and I had this sweet lady who met us at the gate in O’Hare and took us to this room as we waited for the short flight from O’Hare to Moline.

The room was like straight out of Willy Wonka. There was food, toys, games and all the kids to play with. It. Was. Awesome. A Wonderful Airport Land of Games. There were these wonderful workers there who played with you and I felt like I never wanted to leave.

Then we learned we couldn’t. For some reason Christina and I were scheduled on the last flight of the day between O’Hare and Moline. And wouldn’t you know, it got canceled. Next flight wasn’t until the morning. Our sweet grandma offered to drive the three hours to pick us up, but my mom said we would be fine. Hell yeah we would be fine, we were playing our tails off in the Wonderful Airport Land of Games. How wrong we all were…

When nighttime came, the Wonderful Airport Land of Games¬†became a terrifying place ran by an evil and malicious woman named Mama. While the boys got to sleep in the room full of video games and toys, the girls were forced to sleep on these two long couches on either side of a skinny room with a TV at the end. At the end of one of the couches was a chair. That’s where Mama slept.

Now Mama loved her couches. We were just so¬†privileged¬†that she allowed us to sleep on them. Mama also loved her TV. When it was time to go to bed, Mama turned on the TV and quickly fell asleep. The other girls and I couldn’t sleep with the TV blaring, so, deep in the night, in hushed whispers, the older girls, including Christina, convinced me I had to go turn off Mama’s TV or else they would never be able to sleep. Slowly, a crawled up the room to turn off the TV. No sooner did I press “power” and run back to my place on the couch before Mama jumped out of her chair and yelled, “WHO TURNED OFF MY TVAY?” The shrill of her voices still haunts me to this day. At this time I had mastered the what-what-are-you-talking-about-I-just-woke-up-face and just looked at her. Again, she yelled, “WHO TURNED OFF MY TVAY?” After no one answered Mama turned told us to not be doin’ that no more and turned the TV right back on again and went to sleep. I cowered the rest of the night and prayed for morning.

When the next morning finally came and we woke up from the single most terrifying evening of our lives (other things happened this night but this blog post is already very long and has nothing to do about the Marta) we ordered McDonald’s breakfast courtesy of the airline (probably the first time I ever got McD’s breakfast, and it is AWESOME) we learned we would be on the next flight to Moline in about an hour. Thank. God. Well, in that hour I managed to spill my little McDonald’s syrup cup twice on Mama’s beloved couch.¬†Christina¬†and I freaked out and covered up the two dinner plate-sized sugar stains with my little blanket and pillow before Mama noticed. Thirty minutes later someone comes in the room and says, “Christina and Gabrielle, your flight is here!” Literal God-send music to my ears. We grab the pillow and blanket, run out of the room, and manage to get out and around the corner just in time to hear Mama’s first scream by the sight of her couch.

I say all this because when you’ve done flying enough, you learn the “bumps” that go with that form of travel along the way. The turbulence, the middle seat, the rather large elderly women who makes you call her Mama and makes you sleep on her couch. You learn that it’s a part of the journey, and you’re more than likely going to be OK no matter what.

I haven’t yet learned that about the Marta.

Today’s trip home might as well have been Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. We were swaying side to side, doors were cracking open, wheels were¬†screeching, hell, the little¬†over-com¬†lady telling me what stop was next wasn’t even playing. I was literally terrified. I thought we were going to just fly off the tracks into I-85.

As I thought about it some more and looked at the calm faces around me I thought, well heck, this is just like turbulence. Just a little bump in the travel and nothing to worry about. I am going to be fine. At least I’m not 7 and spilling syrup on the seats.

-gh

PS – The above story is a first draft/abridged¬†version of one of my favorite stories ever. If I ever write a book, you will see it there too. Give me more than 5 minutes to spend on it, and it will be even more hilarious (if that’s even possible ūüėČ ).

Day 8 – The Real Reason

23 Jul

There was no Marta riding on Day 7, so no post. Sorry ’bout it.

Today was the first day I almost missed the Marta. Running down an escalator just to reach the doors before it closes is quite thrilling (and also¬†eerily¬†like¬†Sliding Doors, I wonder how my life would have changed?)! If you are wondering what this Sliding Doors reference is you need to watch the movie ASAP.¬†Gwyneth¬†Paltrow before she was Goop. You think you may know, but you have no idea. It was one of the like 3 DVDs my Dad had at his house (the two others were Forrest Gump and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… AWESOME SELECTIONS but every now and then I had to switch it up with Sliding Doors) and let’s be real, Dad hadn’t heard all the sick excuses that Mom had so staying home and watching DVDs at his house was way easier (if you’re reading this, sorry Dad).

On the way home I got to walk to the Marta station with another fellow intern which is always nice. She’s a rising senior at Emory and randomly an Econ major doing a PR internship. She’s awesome. Anyway I told her I had a confession and I had not yet blogged about the¬†real¬†reason I was taking the Marta. So I thought I’d share it with all of you. But I’m sure it won’t be a surprise to any of the readers who know me. Ok, so here it is.

I AM A HORRIBLE DRIVER. 

Yep, I said it. And if you ever want to get in the car with me again I would suggest not reading further. Some examples… I¬†didn’t get an oil change for nearly three years because I didn’t know those existed. After getting my first ticket when I was 16 for going 60 in a 35 I learned in Driving School that¬†windshield¬†wipers come off.¬†I once got in two accidents, totaling in four broken/totaled cars, in 2.5 days. I have gotten into like three other fender benders. I’ve never been able to talk my way out of a ticket. However, once I got pulled over without proof of insurance or a license and didn’t get cited for either of those,¬†so I guess that’s lucky. On that note, I drove for 7 months without a license (it wasn’t invalid, I just didn’t have one with me…tee hee). For the last three years I have had minimal car insurance. Is that a laundry list enough for you to reason for me not driving through Atlanta traffic to go to work?

Now that I’m taking the Marta I hope it will deter me from getting in any more accidents or tickets. Y’all don’t even understand how worried I am something will happen on the .6 mile drive to the station parking lot. Like panicky. Like enough maybe to cause a car accident.

So now, readers, I hope you feel closer to me with that confession. And I hope you feel safer, Atlanta driver readers, that I am not on the roads. Win-win.

Now that I’ve told you all of that, could you believe I safely drove across the country three times? Yeah, neither can I.

-gh

PS – I just saw my work building on TV. Atlanta is so cool.

Day 6 – The Day The Marta Never Came

22 Jul

Yes, the sole purpose of taking the Marta was supposed to be for work. But this weekend I managed to convince my roommate to go to Midtown for dinner and late-night festivities because… well… you can get to Midtown by taking the Marta. And why not have another adventure to blog about on the weekend? That was my literal thinking behind going to Midtown.¬†It’s sad.

So we went to the Marta stop and waited for the train. Shortly after, one drove by. AND IT DIDN’T STOP. Wait..what? I was so shocked, confused and taken aback. Why did it not stop? Why did it not want to take me to my final destination? And most¬†importantly, what about all the people on that train who expected to get off at Lenox? What would they have done (besides have an awesome blog post about it)? I felt so abandoned, like I would never make it to Tin Lizzy’s or experience Midtown.

But about 15 minutes later another train came and we got on and made it safely to Midtown.

Whilst in Midtown, a place full of nightclubs, lounges, covers, guidos (as my Florida roommate pointed out) and friendly homeless men offering to be our bodyguard, roommate, friends and I went to an “Irish pub” called Ri Ra. I should have first known that no Irish pub ever would have been called Ri Ra. That sounds Japanese or like some sort of babytalk. The only thing Irish about this place was that they sold¬†Guinness, which is awesome, but I have this thing where I’ve only had Guinness in Ireland so I didn’t even get to enjoy that Irish part of it. Regardless, we were ready to go home pretty soon and decided to take the trusty Marta.

At about 1:25 a.m. we get to the station. Plenty of time, the train stops running at 2 a.m. Soon enough we hear the train come…. AND IT DOESN’T STOP. Everyone in the station kind of looks around at each other thinking,¬†Hmm… that’s odd… I wonder why beloved Marta didn’t want to stop for me?¬†Again I think of the poor souls on the train who expected to get off at the Midtown station. Then, 20 minutes later, another train drives by AND DOESN’T STOP. Like it doesn’t even care. So now Marta station mates and I are thinking WHAT THE HELL is going on?? Are the brakes not working? Is the train headed for a doom at the end of the tracks? Has some deranged train conductor decided to kidnap the riders and never pick anyone else up? What is going on?!

The time now is right before 2 a.m. and we fear we have lost all hope of Marta-ing home safely. We climb up the stairs (the station is underground) and see a police officer and ask him what’s going on. He seems to have no answers and just says, “We’re working on it.” Then I hear him say that they’re planning on getting a bus to come pick us all up to take us to each station. Now I was completely fine with that but some people we were with did not want to take a bus and said getting a taxi would be easier. So we decide to exit the station (and thus¬†reneging¬†our pass for that trip) and suddenly WE HEAR ANOTHER TRAIN. The police officer saw us just leave and he runs and opens the gate for us, we run back down the stairs just to see… wait for it… THAT THE TRAIN HAS SPED BY AGAIN.

Confused, lost, belittled, we leave the Marta station again. It only took about THIRTY MINUTES to find a taxi, and the fare home was far more than a Marta ride.

So here I am, betrayed and confused. Why did the Marta leave me four times in one round trip? Was I not good enough for it anymore? Did it feel betrayed by me calling it the red-headed step daughter of the mass transit world? Well hear me now, Marta, I apologize for that. Please don’t leave me again. I’m sorry. But I swear to god you leave me when I’m trying to get to work I will never love you again.

-gh

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