this time, it gets local.
i suspect very little contributed more to my high blood pressure than riding on the metro each day. yes, it’s a wonderful system, and i hope more is done to alleviate its overcrowding and underfunding. but when you commute each day on this system, you tend to see the worst in people. it’s like never-ending cases of walking competitors for the darwin awards…
people standing in the doors of the cars, not letting others in.
people eating on the train when it’s strictly prohibited.
people taking strollers down the escalators.
people stopping at the top or bottom of the escalator.
and my personal favorite: every protestor whacking you with signs from his or her day exercising her G-d-given rights as an american to share her perspective with members of congress. or staffers. or most likely, with other tourists who think this passes for excitement. i used to dread the anniversary of roe v. wade each year, not because i’m against the decision (i’m for it — pro-choice all the way, baby!) but because at 7am, pre-coffee, no one should have to be barraged by a bunch of middle america’s finest, grinning broadly and wielding signs containing pictures of aborted fetuses.
but the mother of all my metro pet peeves: people standing on the left-hand side.
this is the walking lane, people. it isn’t safe to stand here, especially not during rush hour. this is the lane that provided people like me with exercise for the first five years of my life as a commuter in DC: running down the escalator in rosslyn; running up the escalator in dupont circle (which is impressive if you’ve been there.) if you want to stand, stand to the right.
you really don’t want to get in the way of cranky, time-crunched commuters. once upon a time, just before christmas 1991, i was in the left lane, walking down the escalator at metro center. suddenly, a blue line train to maryland pulled in. someone pushed me from behind, and i fell all the way down to the bottom of the escalator. bump de bump de bump i went on my back. i laid crumpled in a heap at the bottom of the escalator. and you know what? no one stopped to help me or even ask me if i was ok.
they stepped over me. and they got on their train.
so think of this as your public service announcement should you ever come to DC. stand to the right. walk on the left.
and for G-d’s sake, try to stay off metro during rush hour.