She was hunched over, staring at her video monitors as if she was watching the last five seconds of the World Series with the Cubs at bat, bases loaded, score tied in the bottom of the ninth. The monitor showed her station. Four different views of it simultaneously. I looked for my train and it wasn't there yet, so I thought little of the radio voice that said "You'll be the BART liaison for Balboa Park..." and I walked to the ticket machine.
The card in my wallet only had 75 cents left on it. I slipped it into the ticket slot, pulled out my wallet, put a five dollar bill into the bill slot, and waited for the falsely metallic "bink" that let me know the fiver had been accepted. My finger brushed lightly over the "Print a $5.57 ticket" button, and as I pulled it out of the ticket slot and turned away, another BART employee walked past me. His radio went off as I moved through the turnstile.
"...have to move the body..."
I paused in thought, if not in motion as well, then made my way to the escalator marked "To All Trains."
Freemont 10 Minutes
I made my way towards a cement bench in the middle of the platform to wait for the train that would take me two stops to meet melibabe for lunch, but the woman I'd be sharing the bench with was eating hard boiled eggs, and they were rank, so I continued on to another bench where the smell was muted slightly. "What part of a train would they be referring to as the body?" I wondered to myself, just as an announcement came over the loud speakers.
"Due to an extreme medical emergency, East Bay bound trains will be delayed by up to an hour. We are working with only one track at the Balboa Park station, and it's causing severe delays in service. We apologize for any inconvenience."
This was followed quickly by "The Balboa Park station is closed until further notice due to an extreme medical emergency. If your final destination is Balboa Park, please find some other method of transportation. East Bay bound service will be delayed. We apologize for any inconvenience."
That message was repeated several times before my train came. I boarded, and sat across from an older man in BART uniform carrying a large bag and a walkie talkie. As we left the station, he spoke into his walkie, "This is sixteen, now departing sixteenth." The reply he got told him to debark at Civic Center, the next stop.
After lunch, I got back on the train at Powell headed back towards my car. At Civic Center, the same man, now much more haggard looking, got back on the train and sat across from me. As the train started moving he spoke into the walkie talkie once more, "This is sixteen, departing Civic Center."
At sixteenth street, I stood, but before exiting looked at him and said, "Good luck with the rest of your day." He looked up. He didn't smile, but he did say "Thank you."
And then I left.
Helpless to help