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Stadium and Main: Off-Topic Tuesday: Riding on the Metro (D.C. Style)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Off-Topic Tuesday: Riding on the Metro (D.C. Style)

Them's the rules!If you’re into cheesy 80’s new wave, you might remember the classic Berlin tune. But I want to vent some frustrations about my fellow passengers on the Metro subway system in Washington, DC. I recently started taking the Metro to work, but I’ve (obviously) been thinking (read: obsessing) about this stuff for a while. I’m sure that these “suggestions” would apply to many subway systems, so it might be worth your time to read. So, in no particular order:

(1) When the trains are crowded, move to the middle. The new “Metro lady” even reminds you to do so. It's Traffic Flow 101, and it will make things run much more smoothly.

(2) Related to (1): When you step into the train, don’t just stand there. Remember that there are likely people behind you that also want to get onboard. And guess what? They can’t when you’re just standing there blocking the entrance!

(3) Don’t try to stop the doors. Messing with the doors, even for a second, can mess up the whole system, and everybody might have to de-board the train and wait for the next one. You don't want to be "that guy." The doors are unforgiving – they will not open just because you are trying to hold them open for your friends. Also, they leave some nasty grease stains on your hands/shirt/briefcase (yes, I learned from experience on this one).

(4) Know where the doors will be opening for the next station, and don’t block those doors. For instance, if you get on the Red Line at Farragut North on the “left side,” you will be getting off at Metro Center on the “right side” (and vice versa). Pay attention on your daily commute, and know where to be (and, more importantly, where NOT to be).

(5) Your Newspaper/Crossword/Sudoku takes up space. It’s simple – the "circumference" and/or "surface area" of every person is, by definition, larger when they are holding a paper or a book out in front of them. You think you're minding your own business, standing there doing your crossword puzzle... but in reality you’re making it more cramped for all of us, including yourself. Certain things, like purses, briefcases, and umbrellas are absolutely necessary. But I think the sun will rise tomorrow even if you can’t finish your crossword – so save that for some other time. If you’re sitting down, go for it. But if you’re standing, forget it.

(6) Some Metrorail cars are about to change to fewer seats, with more “open room” for standing passengers. But for now, each “bench” has two seats. And here is my main rule on that one: Don’t sit next to me if there is a totally open bench somewhere nearby. Once every single bench has one person sitting in it, THEN (and only then) can you sit next to me. Of course, all bets are off for certain individuals (the elderly, etc.). But don't plop down next to me when every other bench is open. It’s like those creepy old dudes that always use the urinal right next to you, even when there are 45 other options. Completely uncalled for!

(7) Mind your breath. I’ll admit that my “dragon breath” is probably not the most pleasant thing, so I try to be aware of my respiration. When it’s 7:15 in the morning, the last thing I want/need is you blowing mouth farts all up in my nariz. Not fun.

(8) Tourists. Ugh. Tourists, please realize that it is not a federally mandated law that you must search feverishly for and obtain a seat on the Metro. I swear, these people are like housewives fighting over the last Cabbage Patch Kid, circa the mid 80’s. And FYI – I know you are sweaty, lazy, and ignorant, but (1) I can’t eat or drink on the Metro, so neither can you, and (2) I assure you that you can walk the 3 blocks between Metro Center and Gallery Place/Chinatown. You (probably) won’t die.

Just remember that a little bit of common sense and courtesy can make everybody's life better - especially mine. Thanks for reading.


Blogger e said...

you are totally obsessed with these rules... to the point where i honestly thought you were going to turn ME in for attempting to eat while on board. you would never survive in chicago, people are way worse here - it's a free for all. just remember: violence is not the answer! i'm worried you're going to get thrown into jail for beating down some tourist.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

I would not hesitate to turn you in. That's how we roll in D.C.!!

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

Remember that dad and I are "annoying tourists" in D.C. at least once a year, although come to think of it, you probably had us in mind when writing. The big city and the metro are intimidating
to us small-town folks. :)
I always taught you to follow the rules, though, so looks like I did a fine job. :)
Love, Mom

12:17 AM  

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