Mass Transit = Mass Chaos
For those of you who’ve not had the distinct pleasure of riding “the metro” in DC…count your blessings. For those of you that have…count your personal belongings.
The metro has many great (and concerning) people watching aspects. Most of these classic human behaviors are bests observed during “the peak of the peak” – which is when everyone from the entire eastern seaboard decides to catch a train (usually between 7:00-8:00am and 5:00-6:00pm). When things are smooth, they are very very smooth. When things are “off,” you’re in for an awesome goat rodeo!
Sprinkle in 105 degree heat index, a “sick passenger” 2 stops away during the peak of the peak delaying trains throughout the entire system, 50% probability of a 3+ story escalator outage at your stop, incomprehensible announcements from someone that clearly under-studied as an announcer in the NYC metro and LAX, an exciting game of Russian roulette on whether or not your train car will have A/C, 150 high school students on a field trip wandering through the station like a bunch a gum balls trying to exit a gum ball machine one at a time, a few gang members here and there with their bvd’s hangin’ out, a hippy chick singing classic Stones very out loud (and very off-key) for the listening pleasure of everyone within a 10 foot radius, a veritable smorgasbord of dress codes ranging in style from Jerry-Springer halter tops and tattoos to tea-party-with-the-queen heels and pearls, an occassional stalker who thinks he’s at a TGI Friday’s happy hour asking “do you come here often” (even though your nose is buried in an e-book and your ipod ear buds are securely in place), a 16-year-old in front of you that’s sitting in the “senior seating” while texting and chewing gum oblivious to the 80-year-old standing over her staring so hard she could burn holes into her soul, a dozen or more one-sided cell phone conversations happening simultaneously around you with topics ranging from lactose intolerant dinner menu planning to heated mother/daughter battles about not cleaning the dishes last night – all taking place on a single train car with so many people jammed into it that you can’t help but unintentionally make it to 2nd base with the 5 strangers around you before exiting at the next stop.
This, my friends, is not only the genesis of a great reality TV series (and my everyday commute), but a gift from above reminding us that life is always right there in front of us, just waiting to be observed, marveled at, enjoyed, and most importantly – participated in! Git’ er done #WMATA!