Friday, March 13, 2009

THE CULTURE OF SELF-ABSORPTION

Today our beautiful receptionist, Felicia, was delayed over 45 minutes getting back from lunch (a trip that should have taken about 5 minutes) because someone had fallen onto the tracks of the D.C. MetroRail and trains in both directions were stopped cold (obviously). And this brought me back to something that has been annoying me mightily for the past 3 or 4 months.

Most of the people riding the MetroRail system here steamroll ahead wearing little earbuds from their iPods, with an additional Blue Tooth attachment for the cell phone they are busy using for conversation or texting. As a consequence, they don't look where they're going and are genuinely shocked when someone objects to being shoved out of the way, so intent are they upon their headlong rush to a train that isn't even due to arrive for another 4-6 minutes!

One of the "conventions" for riding the escalaters that deliver one below ground to the various Metro stops is that people who don't wish to walk down the escalator (or cannot) stand to the right and people who want to walk down, use the left side. There is nothing in the rules about running down the escalator, shoving people standing quietly to the right because they are mature folks who don't believe in rushing around like hysterical prehistoric birds, chirping and running and shoving.

Is this why a person ended up on the tracks this afternoon? It wouldn't surprise me. Etiquette and the Metro have long since stopped going together in any form or fashion. Try walking along the platform to the spot where you normally board your train and people will pass you on the left, shoving you out of their way as they do so. It's dangerous and it's really annoying. And people "of a certain age" are more at risk than any others because some of my fellow "seniors" aren't as steady on their pins as they should be. And, unlike me, they don't proceed down the platform with their left elbow strategically placed to knock the wind out of some rude little shit who is endangering my safety!

I may be over 65, but I'm meaner than hell.

4 comments:

Frankly Opinionated said...

I thank God daily that I have chosen to live so far in the country that I must drive to hear a siren, that I have no concept of a "Metrorail" thingy. I hear gunfire nearly every evening, as my neighbors use their home shooting ranges, just as I use mine. Some of you must live in these urban conditions, in highrise buildings that the Great Johnny Rivers called "Concrete Anthills". I thank you for living there and doing the business that must be done in the cities, but I surely pity your poor souls. You are at tremendous risk from so many directions. I grab my dogs and head out into the woods at night to find my risks, chasing wild hogs, hunting "cats", and staying far away from any city lights. How does one "Fall" on a railroad track? Isn't that where the trains run?
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Gayle Miller said...

I live in the country (sort of) about 51 miles south of Washington, D.C., which is where I work (yes, the commute is a stinker a lot of the time).

Your dogs wouldn't want to hunt MY cat - he's a 26 pound Maine Coon with a bad attitude. My sister's pit bull is afraid of Sam! And would never believe that when we are alone, he's the biggest Momma's boy on planet Earth!

But I do envy you the serenity of your bucolic digs!

Frankly Opinionated said...

GM:
A 26 pound Cat? Holy Shi'te! My 112 pound Great Pyrenees, would probably get her nose peeled. She thinks that all house cats want to be kissed by her. Our neighbor whom we visit nearly daily has 5 cats. Lacey has made friends with 4 but that 5th one---- Still puts the claws to Lacey. She looks up to me as if to ask; "Why?".
You don't need a watch dog, with a cat like that on duty.
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Frankly Opinionated said...

GM:
Just read some of your profile. Anyone who likes Blazing Saddles has got to have some good in them. Check my blog, (signature to this comment), and see my dog, n more.
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