During our scavenger hunt today we were obligated to take Boston's marvelous mass transportation service: The T.
Don't get me wrong, subways are a great addition to a big city like Boston. They decongest the streets, the provide quick transportation, they lower pollution, and they give you a chance to meet interestingly creepy homeless people.
Subways also give creative movie producers a great location for trapping passengers that are suddenly placed in a large amount of danger. If you'll remember, "Volcano" had a great scene where a man leaped from a subway and melted into molten lava. Other movies involve criminals, explosions, and zombies.
The common link between all of these worst-case-scenarios is that the passengers are always stuck on the subway.
I took the subway to Thanksgiving today! We were trying to get from the MIT stop to Porter.
The three of us sat on the T patiently, waiting for our stop to arrive. We contemplated a sign in the train that asked "What's the shortest series of of words you can construct that's both a pangram and a palindrome?" We decided that we weren't smart enough to figure it out, so we moved on to the next sign. "If you were to spell out all the numbers from 1 to 999,999,999 and put them into alphabetical order, what would the 35 billionth letter be?" We gave up on this one too, but that's ok, because we were at Porter and it was time to get off. Normally this would be easy, just step off the train, but there was one small problem: the doors didn't open.
We stood there, confused, wondering why we were still on the train, when all of a sudden it lurched forward and Porter was gone. That was our stop! What, I mean, how, I mean, why did it go away?! Why no open doors?! We just stood there, not knowing what to do, confused. Soon the next stop came, Davis, and we stood to exit there, but again, the doors didn't open! Other people in our car started to figure this out too, leading to one of those brilliant group realizations of "Holy Crap! We're Stuck in the Subway Car!" What made the situation worse is that, as we looked down through the cars, we realized that all the other cars were working just fine. We all ran around frantically trying to find some sort of emergency call button but there wasn't one in sight. Luckily, we were in the front car and there was an attendant in a separate room. We started knocking on the door loudly, hoping to get her attention before the train left Davis.
She eventually came out and asked "What's going on?"
"Our doors aren't opening!"
"Really? Just for this stop?"
"No, we've already missed our first stop!"
"Hm, let me call somebody."
As she went for the phone I started to think back to all those horror movies with the zombies and lava (somebody make a movie about zombies and lava . . . greatest idea ever). Would we make it out of the train alive? Would we ever eat Thanksgiving dinner? Would my life ever be the same again!?
My melodramatic conundrum was interrupted when I overheard the attendant's hilarious conversation with somebody on the other line.
"Hey, did you open the doors at the last stop?"
We just gaped. It wasn't even a technical glitch; the door opener guy just decided to lock us in the subway car as zombie bait. Seconds later the doors opened and we were able to hop onto another train and head back to the stop we missed the first time. We survived the zombies folks, so let that be an inspiration to all of you who get stranded on subway cars: There is Always a Way Out!