Weekly Column: Why Metro makes me angry

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“You know how much negative energy would be necessary to generate a flow this size?” -Ghostbusters II

It does not matter when I wake up or how I am feeling when I get out of bed on a weekday — there’s one certainty in my life, and that is I will eventually get very angry when commuting to work on our metro system.

Don’t get me wrong, the Examiner and Express people outside of Huntington are as cool as can be, and we know each other by name. Regardless, once my Smartrip hits the circle (oh wait, it didn’t register… there we go…) I’ve entered the subterranean hell of the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, better known as WMATA.

First things first, farecard machines prime the anger. Either people don’t know how to use them or they refuse to work.

Then, the escalator. Why in God’s name are you bringing luggage to work? Can’t you stay later and not bring that stuff home? What about a bookbag? It just grinds my gears that people perfectly capable of using a book bag need some shit with wheels. If it wouldn’t get me arrested, I’d drop kick your rolly bag in front of the next 8 car Red Line. But I would get arrested, so I’ll just pretend to trip on it so you feel bad. If I can carry 10 softball bats and my team’s stuff plus a bookbag without getting in people’s way, you too, can carry a bookbag. Just stand on the right, walk on the left. Even tourists catch on after a day or two.

Third, people standing on platforms. Let me share a diagram.

metro platform

Let’s review. It’s the morning, we all presumably know where we normally enter the train so we can most efficiently leave the train at our final destination. On the scenario on the left, people stand every which way, and I’d have to be an NFL halfback to navigate without bumping into 20 people. On the right, there is the correct way. Walk down the freaking platform until you find your place, then make room for everyone else. Now after the horrible metro accident with the trains pulling all the way into the station, havoc has been wrought at Gallery Place/China Town in the evening. If I have time, I do my best to take another route so I avoid this all together.

People who take up the entire row are my next target. It’s 8:15 am and my train is packed, why is it you feel that you need to sit in the aisle seat and put your bag in the window seat. I’ve found a way around my anger from you, oh greedy one. I meditate on a lovely movie starring Danny DeVito, and guess what? You’re playing the role of Anne Ramsey. I’ll give you a hint:

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iPod listeners and those who blast music without headphones, this Bud’s for you. Are you freaking deaf? If I wanted to hear Lady GaGa’s “disco stick” song, I’d listen to 95.5 — I don’t want to hear your music. Though, I’ve found some poetic justice for those with blackberries and iPhones. It’s called Pandora. Install it and make a really annoying station. If people are blasting music, blast your music conspicuously in their face. They’ll either get mad and stop, or leave the train. This has been a winning idea for me, and other riders have actually thanked me.

Last but not least, WMATA itself. I could dedicate an entire blog to you, and many others have. I’ve learned to deal with your BS, but I still don’t like you. I can be understanding, but it’s still beyond me that you cannot get the point of information displays right.

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