Metro WARS

Metro WARS

Now I know several of my other fellow bloggers has spoken about their dismay with the Metro system in Washington. I have many of the same grievances against it as they do. I hate being pushed and shoved by people attempting to pile into a train as much as the next guy.


But I guess it could always be worse. Check out this picture that I saw of the subway system in Tokoyo, Japan.



I saw this picture during one of our Monday programs at the Japanese Information and Culture Center. Our presenter actually spoke of the relative so-called "personal space" that she was able to enjoy when she stepped onto a DC Metro train during rush hour for the first time. I guess I really can't complain too much about trains being too full after looking at that. The subway officers in the picture actually have the job of pushing people in subways that are already beyond full everyday! Some job! I think it's hilarous looking at the people in the background watching as if this is normal. Well, it is normal in Japan, but they're just waiting their turn.


The subway system in DC isn't all that bad. It is rather easy to figure out...within my first couple of days of being in DC I pretty much had it done pat. It's that simple as compared to subway systems in ...I don't know...NEW YORK..which are ridiculous. I've talked to several people while I was in New York who had been living there for years and still have yet to figure out all the twists and turns of their subway system. Sheesh!



New York Subway system. Confusing huh? Yeah, I know.



DC Metro map. May look confusing now, but trust's really easy.


The Metro can also be rather entertaining. It is always fun to watch the 50-or-so-year -old man with earphones in his ear bobbing his head trying to relive his younger years or to see the thirty-year-old balding man who decided that keeping an earring in his ear was still part of the professional world. It's also always fun to listen to tourists new to the Washington area attempting to find their way around the metro. I am often kind enough to offer my kind assistance if I can, which makes me feel like I really got this place figured out. I'm no longer the new kid on the block!


But then, there are the creepers! Like just today, this young man approached me as I'm on my way into work. He had a mouth full of gold teeth and asked me for some money because he had just got out of jail and needed some food. At least that's what I think he said...I wasn't listening that hard. But of course I told him no. Now I'm not one to completely ignore people who are in need because I never know when I could be in a situation like that. I am more than happy to take you around the corner and buy u a sandwich or something, but I'm not about to give you money. And then when I tell him no, he proceeds to ask me for my number. Are you kidding me?! What are you going to do with it? You just asked me for money because you don't have any to buy food, and now all of a sudden you have a cell phone to plug my number in? Get outta here! Not that I thought that he was telling me the truth about needing money, but still. Some people just don't think! But the funny thing is, when I told him no, he began speculating, saying oh, you must have a boyfriend? HA! as if that could be the only possible reason I could resist a face like his.


Then there was this other occasion. I had just got finished lobbying on Capitol Hill for my civic engagement project that I told you about and I was riding into work to finish out a half day. Everything is going pretty peacefully especially since it was midday because there was hardly anyone on the trains. Well, I sat down behind an older gentleman. Just so happens he was a rather larger man that you probably wouldn't want to go toe to toe with in a battle. Thinking nothing of it, I sat directly behind him. When I first entered the train, he looked directly in my eye, but again I thought nothing of it as people often look at people who are getting on trains. But when I sat down, he had no problem turning all the way around, virtually breaking his neck, and looking directly into my eyes again! And this wasn't one of those awkward glances that could have possibly happened on accident as you glance back to see who is behind you in the train. NO! He held eye contact for probably a good 10 seconds! He then turned around, and then turned BACK around to repeat the awkward situation once again and then again! Needless to say, I moved back a couple of seats and sat on the opposite side of the train, still keeping my eye on him to make sure he wasn't going to try anything funny. Well, it was funny to watch him turn around and search for me after I had moved....but ...he found me! I had to sneak out when we finally made it to my stop. Call me paranoid, but I didn't want him to know where it was that I had gotten off on the train for whatever reason. He may have made a mental note, but I have yet to run into this man again, thankfully!


Then there was this man one weekend that I had to run some errands to get myself situated for the summer and fall of next school year. Well, we were sitting facing each other with a good amount of distance between us. Whenever this happens, I try as much as possible to avoid eye contact, but since there weren't that many people on the train this time either, every move he made I could see. At first it was just regular. He was on his phone or whatever just passing the time as he traveled on to his destination. Then as we started to approach my destination, I see him raise his phone pointed directly at me. I didn't automatically think that he was trying to take a picture of me, but just to be sure, I stood up as soon as I saw this to find out if that was in fact what he was doing. Sure enough, he followed me with his phone. So I kindly turned my head so he could not get my face, if he hadn't already.


As you can see, my experiences on the Metro have been rather...interesting. I have just a few tips that I can rattle together based on what I have experienced:



  1. If you're traveling during rush hour, during the morning or around the time you get off from around 5ish-6:30ish/7, more than likely you don't have too much to worry about. With so many people using the system at this time, and most of them are normal, you don't have too much going on. But still continue to scope your surroundings to make sure nothing funny is going on. You never know!

  2. If you're traveling a little later or during a time when there aren't that many people in your train, try as hard as you can to get to a position where you can see the entire train in front of you. Ideally, sit as close to the back as you can so you have nothing or no one behind you (especially if you are a young lady as I am, but this is also a good tip for guys as well).

  3. Don't be afraid to get into the big crowds. Usually when it's time to head home, everyone is tired and super ready to be at home. They will push you out of the way...or yell at you because you aren't moving fast enough.

  4. If someone does yell at you, don't yell back. Not that anyone will hit you or anything (they might) but it's just so unproductive and gets nothing solved.

  5. When using the escalators, in the off-chance that they are working, always stand to the right and walk to the left if you want to pass people.

  6. Going along with tip #5, don't be surprised if almost all the escalators aren't working. They often don't and most times it isn't a big deal because they are usually just the length of a normal staircase. BuT then there are the monster ecalators like the one at Dupont circle which has sooo many stairs. It sucks when those escalators are out, and yes...I have had to experience that, thanks for asking!

  7. On weekends, add like 30 or so extra minutes on to your travel time if you have to use the Metro. They are always doing something during the weekends and the trains don't run as frequently as they do during the week.


Those are just a few of the tips that I could think of. For the most part the Metro system is rather convenient. Although, I must admit, I am starting to miss my car although I am not missing those rising gas prices...Thanks, MIDDLE EAST for all you do!!!

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