Day 23 – Home-less

7 Aug

Sorry for my lack of posts during the last week. Nothing happened, so don’t worry.

Actually one time I did see a really thug guy with a doublewide stroller with the CUTEST little girls inside, so that was unexpected.

But today something did happen which takes me back to the reality of Atlanta. Well, every day takes me back to that reality. I walk to and from the station, a distance of maybe four blocks, and see a dozen homeless people. It literally hurts my heart to see that pain. I can just picture myself; different clothes, different shoes, different jewelry, to and from by and by these people each day. Fully fed, freshly showered, walking to and from an employed job. I don’t always have change or food on me, so I walk by them and pretend I don’t hear what they say. And it’s so painful. But if it’s painful for me, I can’t imagine what it is for them.

So THEN when things like today happen, I get so excited. At a goodbye-drinks-thing after work today, there was a bunch of extra food and I happily put it in boxes to pass around as I made the walk back to the Marta station.

On my way, a man stops me and asks, “can you help me get some food?” Well isn’t that just find dandy and perfect. I got myself three little boxes full of food! “Here you go!” I happily respond. Two boxes left. As I see the next person I think might need some food I think What if I offer some food to someone who’s not homeless? Oh well… Then I see a man lying on a bench with his hand held out. I ask him if he’d like some food and the joy in his eyes was amazing. I felt so wonderful.

I didn’t see a third person to give my third box to before I got to the Marta station. Not thinking I would see anyone inside, I cross the street to a woman sitting on the ground, reading a book and give her the food and walk right back across the street toward to station.

Feeling happy with myself and the not-wasted food, I joyfully walk down the stairs into the Marta station. Before I could even use my pass to get through the gates, I see a woman without one of her feet in a wheelchair searching through the trash can for food. And there I stood, empty handed.

I guess you can’t help everyone.

-gh

Day 17 – TSPLOST Lost

1 Aug

Today I come bearing sad news. Yesterday was voting day in Atlanta. The biggest vote of the night was called TSPLOST, a 1 cent sales tax increase that would directly fund “untying the knot” that is Atlanta’s traffic and mass transit. Marta had the chance to compete with mean big cousin Metro. Hell even if it had a chance to be invited to the family reunion that would have been great. But it was voted no – which was shocking to me because I saw tons of commercials, social media posts, billboards, was personally handed three fliers, etc. etc.

Let me just give you a visual – we have the chance to go from

I know. Seriously. So my Adventures in Martaing shall continue I guess as Atlanta continues to be mediocre.

Until the next vote…

-gh

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 😉 ).

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