Parents: Do us all a favor and teach your kids some manners.
I boarded a half full 1000 series tonight at Gallery Place, Chinatown.
It was like the usual Washington evening commute — a little crowded but not uncomfortable — in a rail car the NTSB determined telescopes too easily and sends passengers on an early express train to death.
At L’Enfant, the usual horde trampled in and it got uncomfortable.
Three college girls shouted their conversation, and they didn’t even have the courtesy to wait until Friday when they’ll drink on the train and vomit into piles of discarded newspaper to be loud.
Enter little Victoria. Somewhat nicely dressed for a girl under the age of 10, I was surprised that the blaring teeny bopper music I faintly heard at the station made its way to the aisle directly next to my seat came from her smartphone.
Yes. Her smartphone. A girl under the age of 10 with a smartphone.
Excuse me, but this is Washington D.C., not New York. Here we ride the train in a civil manner after spending a day wasting your tax dollars. We are not hooligans.
What is this city turning in to?
Three stops later, her mother realized that the music was irritating passengers in the packed car and asked her to turn it down, despite that using a device to listen to music on the metro without headphones is unlawful.
Normally, I would have offered my seat to one of them, but this offense is unforgivable to me.
If I were feeling particularly passive aggressive and the car were less crowded, I’d ask little Victoria to read the part of the metro rules posted on the panel near the ends of the car that describe this unlawful behavior. Alas, it was too crowded, so that little twerp can stand instead.
Her mom eventually caught on to the glares and snatched that phone and turned the music off — making her play an equally noisy game. A+ parenting right there.
Seats opened up behind me and Victoria and her mom sat down. The sound was even closer now.
“What is the punishment for violating this WMATA rule?” I thought. Do they punish based on age? Would Victoria get sent to a juvenile detention camp in southeast? Would she get court-mandated therapy with a cell phone specialist? Nah, as a minor she probably wouldn’t bear the brunt of it — would her mom get fined?
My mind wandered, thinking of creative ways to punish such people who ruin commutes. Like the annoying college girls chatting up the train like it was the Long Island Railroad. Or the ones who were drinking on metro a few months back and vomited all over the car in front of a metro employee that did nothing and moved on.
What is the appropriate punishment for these people? Do I support creative punishment or fines? Sure. Though in five years I’ve never seen anyone brought to justice.
Then it hit me: The punishment is that they are who they are. The college vomit girls — I hope — will end up like Lindsey Lohan. The loud “woo girls” will get some reality television contract for ‘Bayonne on the Potomac.’
And little Princess Victoria, who has a smart phone despite being under the age of ten and a pushover mom? She’ll grow up to be a preening princess. And we all know what kind of men she’ll attract.
That’s punishment enough in my book.