Metro Etiquette


M Stands for Mum…as Mum’s the word!

On my way to work this morning, I was content that I would do a slap-happy little article about the idea that garden slugs are slowly, yet perceptively, moving closer to global domination. You know, something light hearted and in no way judgmental. Then I arrived at the Metro (or Subway, in other parts of the world) Station in Reston, Virginia.

As someone who rides the Metro almost daily, and has for years, you become aware of some hard and fast rules that riders obey to keep the Metro universe balanced, cosmically.

  1. Escalators

Each station is to have two types of escalators; those that go up, and those that go down. Those that go sideways are only permissible in California where earthquakes can cause this phenomena. For those with chronic health issues, like me, taking stairs get a little problematic and its nice to know that we’ve evolved technologically enough to use this helpful transportation item to alleviate some pain. On this day, however, they were exactly two escalators and they were both going up. Trust me, I’ve been up, it’s not such a great place. I fail to see why you need more than one to take you to that particular destination.

  1. Escalator Riders

              I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world, but here in Northern Virginia/DC, riding an escalator means decision time. One can either stand on the escalator, allowing technology to deliver you safely up or down, or walk in your intended direction, allowing the escalator to speed up the time it takes to get where you wish to be. Those that wish to simply stand must stand on the right hand side of the escalator. Those that wish to walk must do so on the left hand side of the escalator. There are no exceptions. Failure to follow this rule will result in a suitable punishment, say watching a Seth Green movie marathon for 48 hours. Tough…but fair.

  1. Talking on the train

              Short of saying ‘bless you’ to a sneezing person, there is no talking on the Metro. None…at all. We are there to get from place A to place B and we tolerate being in close proximity to other people only because walking to our destination is a poor alternative. No one cares about your work. No one cares about what you’ve seen today. Some of us use the time on the train to catch up on work or to read a book or listen to music in our earphones. If you saw the Lincoln Memorial today and speak out that you didn’t realize he was as tall as his statue, please keep it to yourself. Otherwise, you just stand to annoy people. Failure to follow this rule should result in a three hour dissertation on the validity of the evidence of the Higgs Boson Particle, given entirely by Fran Drescher.

  1. Invalid Fare Card Swiping Repetition

Look, none of us like to fail. Sometimes, failure happens (see Ishtar or Battlefield Earth or almost any movie with Nicolas Cage) and we can’t do anything about it. We’ve all been there. We go to swipe our SmarTrip card on the exit turnstile and the digital display says to go see the station manager because you have a bad card…evil card…the Omen of cards. At this point you should quickly remove yourself out of the line and go see the station manager. Do not stand there and swipe it continuously while the line queues up behind you. Do not simply shrug and cut in line at the turnstile next to you and try your card there. Remove yourself from the process of others getting to their destination. Failure to follow this rule should result in a continuously looped audio compilation from Barney the Dinosaur. No exceptions.

I’m sorry to be a downer and I couldn’t devote the amount of time sufficiently necessary to protect us from the incoming garden slug apocalypse, but this had to be said. Remember the Metro Motto…

”If you see it, stay to the right, don’t double swipe, and don’t say it.”

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