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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Metro Musings

I'm still kinda new to this whole Metro thing. Even so, there's a couple of things I've noticed so far. While some of these are just general observations, others contain valuable tips for my fellow travelers.

1) Be aware that the time you leave your house will bear approximately ZERO relation to the time you arrive at your destination. For example, the Metro trip planner says it should take me 34 minutes from Home to School. I think I've only made it in that amount of time once. Plan accordingly.

2) Walk Left, Stand Right. One of the fastest way to piss off commuters is to stand on the left side of the escalators, thereby ensuring that NO ONE behind you makes their connecting train. The trains are generally timed very tightly during heavy commute times, and it is not at all unusual for people to exit one train at a full sprint in order to get to their next train. I've never been the guilty party, but I've been one of the people behind them. On more than one occasion. As a corollary to this - if you've got luggage with you - MOVE THE HELL OVER - and allow others to get by! Even though you're coming from/going to the airport, other people still need to get to work/school. Also, for our visiting friends - please don't stop right at the top of the escalators to try to figure out where you are/where you need to be. Seriously - there are days I'd kill you myself if I miss my train because of your dumb, lost ass.

3) Metro stations seem to have the most unreliable escalators EVER. There are always notices of escalator outages, people fixing the escalators, or escalators that are just blocked off. These are usually at busy transfer points. Be prepared to walk some stairs. Quickly.

4) Don't stand on the trains with their backpack/suitcase/small child blocking the doors. Despite the pleasant sounding (but repeated) requests to "please stand clear of the door. Thank you," what that recording is really trying to tell you is "MOVE YOUR ASS OUT OF THE WAY!"

5) Shut up. Just put the damned cell phone away. (If you have Sprint, it won't work on the Metro anyway). No one is interested in one side of your stupid conversation. And ladies, I hate to say it, but you tend to be especially guilty of this one. And you make ALL of us sound so DUMB. For our visiting friends, if you ride Metro in the morning and talk to the people around you, you automatically identify yourself as a tourist. I'm cool with that if you are, but just so you know. If you talk too much though, you risk a nasty death at the hands of your fellow travelers. Which E.Spat can verify was very nearly my MiL's fate…

6) Let's just agree that you have terrible taste in perfume. Don’t wear it.

7) And if you smoke - could you hold off for maybe an hour before enclosing yourself into a small airless space with a couple dozen other people? Kind of like that break between eating and swimming? I and the other couple dozen people thank you in advance.

8) Lots of freaky people and/or people asking for money hang out directly outside Metro stations. The kids collecting for football uniforms, the Marian apparitions people, the people offering "free maps" for a $5 donation, the Lyndon LaRouche crowd. If you don't want to deal with them, remember two rules - DON'T MAKE EYE CONTACT and HE WHO HESITATES IS LOST.

9) The trains are full of snazzy dressers. For example, one day I saw a lady wearing a choir robe that had been converted into a dress. It was burgundy. And someone had lovingly sewn lace over it. The lace had either started life the EXACT SAME COLOR or had been dyed to match over it. But the crowning touch was that this celebration of satiny-lacey-burgundy-disaster-in-progress came with a matching HAT! THL would undoubtedly say that "sightings like that are why camera phones were invented," but if you think this white girl is going to snap a photo of an elderly black lady dressed to the nines on the Metro, you are sorely mistaken.

10) Finally, if you really want a seat on the metro - I would recommend trying to get in the front car. My stop is only a few from the end of the line, but is already pretty full when I get on in the mornings. Oddly, there are always seats in the front car. Mainly, I think, because people aren't willing to walk that far down. Of course, once you get into the city, I don't know if that's going to really help you much.

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