Subway Ettiquette

A few brief notes for subway riders in the Washington, D.C. metro area:

  • You instantly brand yourself as a tourist if you run after the metro train yelling “Hold the door!” Holding a subway train door is not unlike trying to teach a pig to sing, except that a pig is not likely to crush your body in two and drag you in an unfortunate position down a cement tunnel. You cannot “hold the door,” folks, and that is why I am presently without a decent umbrella.
  • On a related note: When the woman says “please, stand clear of the doors,” dude, stand clear of the friggin’ doors. Do not try to beat them. Another train will be here soon. No job in the world is worth your life.
  • By the way, you look really silly running to catch the train.
  • Gentlemen, there is nothing noble about leaving that seat open for a woman, not if you’re blocking the doors in the process. If you like, you may allow the seat to remain open for the first few seconds of the trip to the next station. But past that, you’re a damned fire hazard. Sit down.
  • Get on the train as quickly as you can, please, and perhaps a little quicker. And, for Christ’s sake, don’t get on and stand there by the door. There is a whole wide world going on behind you, and right now, some folks who live in that world would like to board the train.
  • If you’re standing by the doors, you are obligated to get off the train to let people off. And for those of you waiting for the train, if I get off the train and stand in front of you, this is what I’m doing. I’m not leaving, and damn it, I’m not giving you my spot on a crowded train.
  • Speaking of waiting for the train: Let everyone get off the train before you attempt to board. Courtesy and the mechanics of human traffic flow make this the most generally accepted social standard.
  • Escalators: Stand to the right. Walk to the left. Say it with me…
  • Even those of us who have ridden Metro for years get blue-lined at Metro Center. All you can do is try not to feel too silly, get off at Arlington Cemetery (which is where you probably realized your mistake…hey, what the Hell am I doing OUTSIDE?), and to try not to feel too silly taking the escalators down and to the other side.

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