metro: standing, walking, questions
I thought I was done ranting about people on the metro. I mean what more can you say after so long, especially that hasn’t already been said on a million other DC area blogs, but ye gods!
Stand right, Walk left… it’s simple, unfortunately it’s also unofficial so I don’t expect it from tourists or other similar lost-looking people. I just say excuse me and move around them, no big deal. But when it’s a native, you expect them to follow the rules unless they’re just spoiling for an altercation. Still, there’s another aspect to walking left. If you choose to walk left, it’s assumed that you’re going to walk with a decent amount of speed! I don’t expect sprinting, but when you insist on inserting yourself in front of a line of fast walking people and you have to gently… saunter… down… the escalator… the people behind you are going to want blood.
This goes for older people who really think they can keep up, people (mostly women in high spiky heels) who haven’t gotten the hang of their footwear and anyone else that can’t get a move on. Walk on the right if you must, but walking left isn’t like an elementary school field day race where every participant gets a ribbon just for trying. Move your ass!
I’m also noticing that the warmer weather is bringing out more panhandlers. I was hit up once in the station on the way home yesterday and four times in and just outside the station on the way home today. The one that really burned my ass was this guy with a little girl. I was in the SmarTrip line hoping to add more onto my card, with my headphones on and I barely hear this guy say “Excuse me… Can I ask you a question?” The guy in front of me was taking far too much time at the machine, so I said “What do you need?” I’m familiar with the “ask a question” routine, so I really wanted him to cut to the chase so I can say yea or nay. I only then realized that I had no cash on me, so if this guy wanted anything other than a farecard, he was SOL.
He had a cell phone out and open, and was sort of dragging the little girl beside him. I tried not to take notice of this and asked again what he needed. Now get this: he looks at his phone and gives me the “hold on a minute” finger. He didn’t hold the phone to his ear or anything, just expected that I should wait on him, for some reason.
The guy in front of me in line was still not done doing whatever he was trying to do, so I ran out of patience and left. The man with the phone and little girl then noticed I was leaving and said “Hey man, hey…” I responded that I didn’t have time to wait and continued towards the escalator. As I started my ascent–standing on the right, mind you–I heard him yell, “Man what is wrong with you people in DC?!”
As someone who spent a long time working in telephone customer service, I really bristle at ever being called you people*, but I managed to keep my cool and not say anything back. There was another guy asking for money at the top of the escalator and then two more in the next ½-block. The only odd thing about this was that I didn’t recognize any of them. I know it’s weird, but after living in this area on and off for 10 years, I still see the same men and women with their hands out. I’m not sure what kind of statement that makes about our area, DC’s services or just their begging success rate in the neighborhood, but it would just be strange to see new faces in dire straits, I guess.
I’m usually the sucker who digs for a dollar to give to someone that looks down on their luck, but sometimes my patience just runs out. 👿
* I somehow managed to grow up without ever hearing “you people” used in a racial manner, and I am just fine with that.