So there we were, the boyfriend, our out of town friend from Saudi Arabia/the UK and me, waiting on the platform to catch the metro back further towards Santiago proper. The train pulled in, and all the lights went off. The passengers waited patiently, and waited patiently, and waited patiently (as Chileans are wont to do), and still the doors didn’t open. Finally there was an announcement that the metro was out of service from Baquedano (where we were) in the direction of Quinta Normal (where we were going).
We looked at each other, shrugged, and started the long walk up out of the bowels of the metro system. On the way, the bf stopped at the administration office (not the ticket counter) and asked if we were to be refunded our ticket price. After all, the metro is a marvel, but no one goes into the system just to see the art. “Yeah, yeah, you’ll get tickets,” he said.
I was very dubious, and we lined up behind a whole bunch of other people who were standing at the ticket counter getting a bit ansty. The administrator guy started giving advice on alternative routes to get hither and yon, displaying a really exemplary knowlege of downtown Santiago. And while he did this, directing people this way and that, he was fighting with a package of something in his hands. It was wrapped in very thick plastic, and a couple of rubber bands. When he finally got it open, it was a giant sheaf of metro tickets marked “Evacuacíon.” He gave two (two?! that’s twice as many as we deserved) to each of us, and said, “because you had to wait.” I was quite surprised.
So then I asked the admin guy, “what happened?” and he said, “alguién se mató” (someone killed themself), and I said, “se suicidió?” (he/she committed suicide?), (as if ‘someone killed themself’ could mean anything else) and the admin guy responded “qué sé yo?” Which is roughly the equivalent of “what the hell do I know?” And somehow, that was quite a bit more shocking.
I looked in the papers and on the news and saw no reports of the incident, nor of the train service interruption. If it were not for the fact that I have witnesses and a souvenir, I’d wonder if it had happened at all.
I think the metro suicides are some sort of common thing mixed with a pinch of urban legend. I’ve been through a couple, though no one gave me those cute tickets. Do they actually work?
Se sabe que son súper comunes los suicidios en el Metro. En general tratan de ser reservados y que la menor cantidad de gente se entere.
Son súper eficientes en limpiar todo y evacuar a la gente con la máxima discreción.
No sé si te has fijado en que a veces el suelo por donde andan los trenes está mojado, sin que haya llovido. Una amiga me dijo eso pasa por limpiar el suelo cuando alguien se suicida.