MARC Mystery

The MARC train. I’ve lived on the Maryland side of suburban DC my whole life, and I have no idea what MARC stands for. (Nor do I care.) It used to be the “Maryland Rail Commuter Service” when I was a kid, and then it became the MARC system. I think it’s “Maryland Area Rapid Commute.” Part of that is conjecture, and the other part is things that I seem to remember reading about. It’s the local light rail system that only runs on weekdays and brings all the slobs who live in the boonies down to Union Station, so they can go work at their silly DC jobs and drink DC tap water and get knifed by DC bums.

I catch the Metro at Silver Spring, and a MARC station is just next door. So as the aged yet still strangely clean Metro rattles past the MARC station, I stare out at all the sad people waiting for their sad little train and, for the last couple months, I’ve noticed some weird messages coming up on the display screens that glow happily day and night, and all weekend long, whether trains are running or not. They very much bring to mind the crazed ATM machine (and others) in Maximum Overdrive.

In the AM, I look out at the DC-bound display board. In the PM, of course, I find that the north-bound board is equally insane. This last week, with Monday as a holiday, I decided to track what they said. These are digital displays, big enough for a couple of words or a scrolling message. However, while the message may be animated on occasion, it tends to be just one word. And a different one each day. So my record of those messages follows. And that’s all you get for a blog entry on this chilly, overcast Saturday.

(Though I do plan to get twisted later tonight and watch the latest Van Damme movie. Last Saturday, I got hopelessly drunk and watched Cannonball Run and decided to test the GS forums bandwidth.)

Okay, on to the record of messages from MARC:

It’s the message I saw Tuesday morning that inspired me to keep a record. What the fuck? The PM message is equally eccentric:

Tuesday 2/19

AM – Pingpong

PM – Fade In

Wednesday’s PM message certainly calls to mind Maximum Overdrive. Kill the humans! Go ahead and jump in front of the train.

Wednesday 2/20/08

AM – Wipe

PM – Jump!

Thursday AM seems to helpfully tell you where the door is. Or maybe it was just stating that the MARC was opening… Even though it had been open for four hours.

Thursday 2/21/08

AM – Opening

PM – Left

A playful Friday for Skynet:

Friday 2/22/08

AM – Sign Me

PM — Spin