For the second year in a row, the Seattle Department of Transportation has decided to add insult to seasonal affective disorder: Last weekend, the light rail began a 10-week (!) period of interrupted service known as Connect 2020.
While the totally nondescript name does bring back fond memories of the time I tried to get my little cousin to go on Disneyland’s Splash Mountain by rejiggering its title around a mermaid theme, I prefer the term invented by people with less PR skin in the game: Seattle Squeeze 2.0.
During this period, trains will run less often—every 12 minutes during peak hours, rather than every six. Riders passing through Pioneer Square Station will be forced to cosplay New Yorkers by (gasp!) changing cars. Bicyclists will be barred from said station in an effort to reduce chaos.
If widespread panic at the levels of the original Seattle Squeeze never quite set in for the current snafu, well, it’s probably because last time, that panic ended up being something of a bust: Seattleites heeded all warnings and adjusted their commutes accordingly, with more people opting to work from home, ride the bus, and pedal their sorry asses to work in the middle of January.
But even Y2K-level hype couldn’t stop Seattle Squeeze 2.0. Those waits are happening. Here are some ideas—one for every extra minute—to help you enjoy them.
Imitate the announcer’s voice well enough to get other passengers to do your bidding.
To keep us attentive during this period of maximum confusion, the light rail has temporarily replaced its female announcer voice with an unfamiliar (and therefore more attention-grabbing) male one. While you contemplate whether the change is sexist, take advantage of the fact that Mr. Man’s tenor isn't yet burned into anyone's memory bank. Just please don’t use your newfound power to start a damn flash mob!
Play “Hot or Not?” with fellow passengers’ rainy-weather footwear.
Not. Not. Not. Not. Not.
Scan your ORCA card over and over again, rhythmically.
Bonus points for making passersby guess what tune you’re trying to play (dude, it's obviously "Wonderwall"!). Make sure to choose a song with an odd number of notes, in case fare enforcement shows up.
Find someone in the station on Tinder.
Set your swipe radius to less than one mile and go! Total power move: Get in your would-be lover's line of sight and swipe left. Expert level: Get off Tinder and make eye contact with someone IRL.
Stare at the wall ads so hard that they show up in your Instagram feed.
Big Brother’s watching, and he wants you to become a member of BECU.
Call your car-owning friend most likely to be stuck in traffic; gloat.
Isn’t it nice to have an audience to practice your impressions on? Wouldn’t you just hate to be stuck on I-5 with a whole bunch of newcomers who don’t know how to drive in the rain? Hey, buddy, good chat, I’ve gotta go—my train is here.