Posts Tagged ‘Subways’

I Wish for World Peace and Considerate Subway Riders

December 29, 2014 1 comment

Subway 10

Actually, I have already wished for world peace. I actively donate to fight cancer and I wish it would go away. I do my part against animal cruelty; I wish the best to all our animal friends. I don’t even have a car so I’m certainly doing what I can to maintain a small carbon footprint and thereby wish the planet an environmentally sound future.   There really is only one remaining wish I have for 2015 and that’s that selfish subway riders would suddenly become considerate individuals.

New York City is well aware of the issues and is starting up a subway etiquette campaign and Washington, D.C. would be well-advised to do the same. But since it is the DC Metro system and they have their hands full with things like perpetually broken escalators and running the trains on time, I am not optimistic they’re capable of also handling a simultaneous public relations campaign.

Hence- this handy pocket guide to subway etiquette.   Actually, the only “handy” thing about it is that you may be reading this blog on a smart phone, which is a portable device, and therefore is, by definition, handy.

So let’s get started.


Seat Hogging

Subway 5

Here’s a lady who thinks that because she shops, she is entitled to three seats.  Don’t do this. People are not staring at you because you’re attractive. They’re staring at you because they are getting a first-hand, close-up view of a selfish a**hole.

Pole Hogging

Subway 4

Here are two examples of people who are mistaking a subway pole that passengers use to maintain a sense of balance- with some sort of device that gently massages their butt-cracks. And here’s a courtesy sign that was specially created for them:

Subway 3

Attack of the Knapsacks

Subway 6

People who wear knapsacks like this never seem to fully appreciate just how often they smack people in the kidneys with these damn things. Because they wear them on their backs. Where they do not have eyes.   In their new etiquette campaign, NYC is going to ask knapsack users to carry the things instead of wear them so there’s a better chance they can see when they’re about to take out an innocent passenger.

The Train is FULL, Thank You

Subway 7

Some people see this as a full subway car. Others see the three and half inches of empty floor space by the door and take it as an opportunity to squeeze in. With their knapsack. No. This train is full. There is another one coming. Usually within 3 or 4 minutes. Also…some of these people could be notorious door-hoggers. They refuse to budge when anyone is entering or leaving the subway car.   It is ok to leave the train for just a second, stand on the platform and let people get out…and then you can get back on again!


Subway 9

All together now! Stand on the Right- Walk on the Left.   This goes year-round and there are no exceptions in the Spring during tourist season.

Escalator Alternatives

Subway 8

Since this is usually the state of the escalators in DC’s Metro system, the stand-right/walk-left issue is often moot.   The nearby elevator doesn’t work either.   There are old-fashioned concrete stairs though. Feel free to stand to the right on those as long as you’d like.

And happy commuting to one and all in 2015!

The Pope and Humble Ways of Getting to Work

Public Transportation

I like it that New York City Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, rides the subway. And I like that the new Pope when he was a Cardinal working in Buenos Aires, Argentina, rode the bus.

I like it that I don’t have a car and that I have to hoof it to the metro and then to work and back everyday. I gave my car to my son when I moved to Manhattan years ago and kept it up when I moved back to Washington. I haven’t missed it. And it forces me to walk a lot.

Cars are great. I rent them when I really need them. Limos are cool. I have a service I use for special occasions. Not at all judgmental about this but there’s something leveling about public transportation.

I discovered this wonderful blog post on Andrew Sullivan’s web site today. It’s from Judith O’Reilly, a former British journalist and now author/blogger:

Why did I feel I had to ride this bus this morning? Because I wanted to know why a cardinal did not ride in a leather-seated, tinted-windowed limo though the streets of Buenos Aires, but chose instead to travel among the faithful and less-than-faithful, bumping and swaying, the wheels on the bus going round and round. What did Jorge Mario Bergoglio get from those bus-rides around the city? Stories? Comfort? Warmth? An understanding what it is to work hard, to be tired, to be lonely, to have to stand when you want to sit, to know you are going home or going far away? Maybe too, I wanted to get on the bus, any bus, because we are on our own journeys and right now at least so far as faith goes, I don’t know where I am heading. Maybe, I thought, if I catch a bus like a Pope, I’ll arrive at a destination called Faith.

Isn’t that lovely?

My Embarassing Metro Subway Moment

March 3, 2010 2 comments

(This is the subway door beckoning me just before it tried to kill me)

You know how sometimes you just want to disappear when something extaordinarily embarassing happens?  On the face of it, it was not a capital offense.  But did the engineer have to single me out?

So, you’re approaching an elevator and the doors start closing.  Folks have their different techniques but mine is the “elevator karate chop.”  Just before the doors close you swing your arm up and down, sensors detect there’s some life form there and the doors open back up.

Karate chops do not work on the Metro subway system.  I had rushed down the escalator to catch the train and I had almost made it and the doors started closing.  I tried to dart in.  The doors closed on a bag I was holding in front of me.  Some very nice guy tried to rescue me and the bag.  After a few seconds that seemed considerably longer, the subway doors finally unleashed their grip, reopened and I got in.   Ok- lesson learned.

But , no.  The subway driver gets on the intercom and says something to this effect—for the whole train to hear.  “Yo.  The guy in the green baseball cap, the blue jacket and blue jeans with the brown sneakers.  Metro doors do not work like elevator doors.  There was another train coming in 4 minutes.  You didn’t have to do that.”  He might have said some other stuff, but by then, I’m going….wait a second…I meet this description.  Holy Moly…he’s talking about me. 

People in the car are looking.  I turned to an elderly African-American woman on the train and smiled my best charming smile.  “Guess, I’m in trouble, huh?”  She flashed a quick grin then promptly returned to the usual stone-faced “Metro-look” most people have on the subway. 

Besides potentially losing an arm and a gift bag, I am afraid I may have also committed a subway etiquette faux pax.   Doing that sort of thing delays the train and makes the passengers quite unhappy.  As well as the driver.  Appropriately chastened, I hereby publicly pledge that I will wait until the next train in the future.   And when somebody does what I did, I will give them a vaguely dirty glance before returning to my stoney “Metro-look.”

Does this officialy make me a Washingtonian again?