Hey, there. I couldn’t help but notice your AAA guidebook, visor and fanny pack when you got on the train this morning. Welcome to Washington. There’s a lot to see and do here, but as someone who’s been a Metro commuter for all of 40 days, I feel like I could offer you some helpful advice.
Now, before you accuse me of being another elitist city-slicker, let me be up front with you. I’m a white bread cracker from Buttcrack, America. I was born — and raised — in a town of 6,000 people. There are more people ON THIS BLOCK in downtown DC than in my entire hometown.
But, I digress. That’s not what my letter to you is about.
Yesterday, at the end of another 10-hour day, I experienced the catalyst for this letter. I boarded my train at McPherson Square just before 6:30 p.m. All was quiet, even through the transfer at L’Enfant Plaza. Hell, my luck was so good yesterday I didn’t even wait for a train — it was waiting on me when I got to the upper platform.
A batch of your kind got on my train at Gallery Place. I call them “your kind” because in addition to parental fanny packs and the like, there were three children in tow. (Time out: Before anybody accuses me of hating children, I don’t. I love children. Especially well-behaved children.) These parents committed the first cardinal sin of letting their children sit nowhere near them. (Thanks. Thanks for that.) Secondly, it’s important to remember that at 6:45 p.m., almost everybody on the train is going home from work and almost everybody’s been at work 10 hours or more.
1. This would NOT be the appropriate place for a singing contest between the three children, but that’s what they did. The entire way to Greenbelt. Catterwalling song after song in a “Name That Tune” style of competition for 35 minutes. When the 12-year-old son decided that getting defeated by his younger sisters was unacceptable, he would scream “NEW GAME!!!! NEW GAME!!!” at the top of his lungs.
Here’s a helpful hint to parents: Nobody thinks your kids in a singing contest in an enclosed area is cute. Nobody.
At any rate, I didn’t appreciate the nasty look from Mom when I suggested Snowflake play “The Quiet Game.” Hey, he said he wanted a new game. I was helping.
2. Those green arrows on the Metro turnstiles are NOT just clever decoration. They mean, “Hey! You! Walk through ME.” No matter how many times you try to insert your Metro day pass in the “red” side, it won’t work.
3. Blocking the escalators — especially during rush hour — is bad form. You just piss commuters off that way. Especially if you’re carting around a roller bag.
4. Sidewalks are “common use” areas. Lots of people move around quickly and use them. Expanding your map to “poster size” and dead stopping is frowned upon.
5. Yes. It’s our right to charge you $2 for a bottle of water. Welcome to Washington.
This certainly isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it should get you through the holiday weekend pretty smoothly. I know you’ve not ventured far outside of Kenosha, but I never lived anywhere but West Virginia and I get it. Come ON … if someone from West Virginia can get it right off the bat, you certainly can.
Come back. Just stay out of my way at 8:30 a.m.