The War Hell Ride

You know, sometimes you make a bad decision. I’ve made several. This is one I think about from time to time.

So, my girlfriend (now wife) and I decided we wanted to do Washington D.C. on July 4th. The fourth in our nation’s capital. We were not far away, so it seemed to make sense.

To make our lives “easier,” we decided to park at the end of the Washington Metro (the D.C. subway line), near Dulles airport, and take the Metro in. I had used it a few times before. It was clean and no one seemed to use it.

Went into the city. Did a full day. Smithsonian all that shit. Actually ran into some friends that were staying in the city. It was a good time.

Stayed for the big fireworks show. Lovely. Beautiful.

What happened next is what I want to talk about.


See dear congregation, what I did not realize going into this enterprise, was that… a ton. And I mean a fuckload of people take the Metro into the National Mall to watch the fireworks.

The thought, never occurred to us. At all.

The fireworks end. And then it is just like 20 thousand people running full bore toward the one metro stop on the national mall. The line was so big that we were actually basically on the mall by the time we got in it. You could barely see the entrance to the station.

Behind us, MORE people. Just in stampede mode trying to get in there. After a bit of undulating, and some flat out being pushed, we came up with a clever plan. We would run up to the next stop and catch the train there. Sure it would be full, but we could find a way in.

The next stop. Flat out closed. They close it on the fourth.

We must have ran 10-15 blocks just to get to the next open metro station. We get there out of breath and find out its the only other metro stop open in D.C. headed out. Everything is closed till Alexandria on the other side of the Potomac.

We figured we were so lucky. Till the train pulls up…

When I say it was full, I want to be clear. I road the Chicago L for years. I ride the subway in New York. Even some time on the BART in the East Bay.

I have still never seen a car this full. The transit police goes, “There is still room. Shove in if you want to leave.” So we shove in.


Deciphering Wesley Willis‘ catalogue is a special kind of endeavor. One song that illuded me was a tune called War Hell Ride about Wesley’s experience riding the bus in chicago.

I never knew what that experience would be like. Till that moment.

The interior was the kind of hot sweaty mass of human flesh that would make David Cronenberg get half a chub. Just filled with gross, stereotypically fat, Americans.

We found a spot off near the corner. Where I was standing between two fat guys. One really hairy, one smooth as a baby’s bottom. My girlfriend is shoved in my chest fully and I am wrapped around her like a winter skin. Her face is entirely buried in my chest, so she can’t see shit.

The A/C, if it was on, was not performing its function. The car was hot and filled with the stench of a thousand farts.

The car must have been overweight, cause when they hit the accelerator. The fucking thing swayed left and right, causing the arm flub and gut mass to just slam into me. Spreading their juices all over my clothes.

The ride to the last stop must have taken 30-45 min. That entire time I am just praying the fucking thing doesn’t break down. Because between the swaying and the speed, I can’t believe inertia isn’t taking over and we aren’t just tipping sideways. I remember thinking, is the hairy guy going to end up on top of me, or the really smooth guy. I dont know which would be worse.

Suffocating is the word that comes to mind. I couldn’t fucking breathe…dunno how my wife breathed cause her head never left my shirt.


There is a stop like 4-5 stops from the end of the line that seems to be where the assholes decided to get off. Cause the train actually emptied out a bit, and we road the last 3 stops standing but without armpit proximity.

I sore from then on out to avoid any and all public transit on event days ever since.


No matter how much turbulence I get on a flight. No matter how bad traffic can be on a road trip.

Sometimes, I’ll just look around and be grateful. At least I am not on the war hell ride.

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