Below is an email I sent to Metro:
Dear Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority:
I’d like to opt-out of your forthcoming Art in Transit program, MetroPerforms! By opt-out, I mean I’d like to know the precise locations of where these artistes will be performing so I can avoid them.
I know your intentions are good, trying to spruce up our sad, mundane lives with a bit of local talent. But my current riding experience is already chock full of culture, and I am not certain my brain can take much more of it.
There are the arts and sciences majors who harass me when I enter and exit the station to donate money to eco-terrorists or poor children in third world countries whose names I have trouble pronouncing.
Questionably employable young whippersnappers who audibly blast popular music on their headphones a few rows away (which, I understand, is within WMATA guidelines).
Yuppies from UVA who bring 12-packs of imported beer on the train at night and flaunt the fact they are drinking and vomiting on metro, even in front of your employees*! (*=this actually happened last week.)
How could I forget the gypsy in Crystal City with a daughter carrying a Pooh Bear who panhandles directly below a “no soliciting” sign? She is there every day but Sunday, when she begs for money outside of my church.
The apparently homeless veteran asking riders for money on cars that contain advertisements that say “The words ‘homeless’ and ‘Veteran’ should never be in the same sentence.”
Or the weird lady outside of Farragut West who has been selling krispy kreme doughnuts for a vaguely described children’s sports team for months?
The Union Station violinist who doesn’t like people taking pictures of him? The guys who sell flashing LED toys, which somehow apparently still interest people.
Hearing the grating voice of Janet Napolitano urging me to call (202) 962-2121, or the public announcements asking station managers (and all who listen) to call control, because apparently their cell phones or radios don’t work. (Or maybe they’re asleep, in which case calling phones might work better.)
Last but not least, the people who are so cultured they can’t put down their kindle version of Paul Krugman’s latest whiny column to make room for an additional person or two during “orange crush.”
So, as you can see, my trips on metro are brimming with culture. Please let me know where I can avoid these street performers, unless of course you have a guy doing standup comedy about public transportation over a station’s intercom. That would be cool. But please, no flashmobs.