Welcome to tape 2 of the Ramblings on Metro Etiquette series.
I hope your intermission was better than mine was because I’m still on a train, but they’re dimming the lights in the lobby and it’s time to get back into the theater.
Now where did we leave off? Oh that’s right, the retirees who neglected to use the Stair Master before leaving their condo complex to go to work. The way these people walk up the stairs is comparable the driving styles of the embarrassments of driver’s license holders that the MVA (or DMV if you live in a normal state) let slip through the cracks. One person will walk on the right side of the stairs while someone will walk behind them but a tad bit slower and offset to the left so that there is no physical way to get by them, unless you want to be that guy who pushes old people down stairs. No one wants to be that guy, so you should try and work in an extra five minutes into your travel time for each set of 5 stairs that the people in front of you need to walk up. Worst case scenario is the grandpa in front of you is a senior Olympian, and you get up the stairs in 5 rather than the normal 15 minutes. But the real kicker is, when the escalators are actually working (it’s more likely you’ll win the lotto) and you think it’s okay to stand on the left side of the escalator.
Big mistake buddy. The second someone sees you standing there, whether they plan on walking or not (which no one ever does), there is an instant chorus of grumpy businessmen trying to correct you saying, “Stand right, walk left.” No sirs, screw all of you! I’m patient while you shuffle up the stairs every other day of the year, but no, now you’ve angered me. Next time someone is failing to summit the great 30 step staircase at the Shady Grove metro station, I’m yelling, “Crawl right, walk left!,” and if you don’t move I might have to be that guy.
So now we enter the world of hypotheticals. So hypothetically speaking, let’s say you manage to get up the stairs fast enough to catch whatever train was waiting at the platform above. If it ever happens, please document it and comment below because I’m sure you’ll get some sort of award. Anyway, now that you’re on the platform, you’ll notice that every single train car is full, but wait, I have a secret. Walk all the way up to the first car on the train and there should only be one or two people in it. You’re welcome, I just saved you some personal space. If you just genuinely don’t want to deal with people, the fist car is where you belong, because thats where people go for leg room and lack of conversation.
In a much more real scenario, you’ve reached the platform with just seconds before the train doors close. Now run. Get on that train by any means necessary, because with all this single-tracking bullshit, the next train might not come until next Tuesday 5:24 AM. And now that I’ve mentioned it, let’s talk about single-tracking.
What DC Metro administrative genius thought that only allowing one train at a time through extremely long sections of track during rush hour was a good idea!? Have you heard of night? Send workers in at night when the metro is closed, and do one section at a time so it’s good to go for rush hour. Maybe it’s more complicated than that, but it’s not rocket science. It’s train science and trains have been around for a long ass time, so I would’ve thought they had found a better way to handle this problem.
Now that you are aware of the insanity that is single-tracking, I’ll explain to you why its a goddamn nightmare.
So you know how you almost missed the train and are now stuck in a car crammed with people? Now the train you’re on is just going to randomly stop completely in a dark tunnel somewhere beneath downtown DC. How wonderful. As most people do nowadays, I’m betting you’re going to your phone to distract you for however long the conductor is going to keep you hostage in this underground prison. Jokes on you though, theres no cellular reception to be found in the tunnels of DC and technology is still flawed and your phone is about to die anyway. As you look up from your phone, you instantly lock eyes with at least two other older people. But the thing is, they don’t care enough to acknowledge how damn awkward it is to stare at people, so now you get to play a fun game called avoiding eye contact. It’s awkward as all hell and a lot harder than it sounds. Every time you look up, there will be a new person staring at you until you slowly have no open areas to look at anymore. Just like that, boom, you lost the game and now you have to sit there like a loser with your head hung and stare at your crotch until the conductor randomly decides, “Okay I guess it’s our turn to move again.”
I don’t know if it’s just pure bored or if I am really this biased against the metro and all who use it, but I need to stop writing before I have an aneurism.
Intermission #2. Remember to rewind this tape and locate cassette 3 of your Metro Etiquette VHS box set.
Fuck man, trains are annoying.