the PUBLIC of public transportation...

One of the goals that I set for myself when I decided to move out here to the BIG, bad world of Washington, D.C. was whether by plane, train, or automobile, I was going to visit, explore, and take full advantage of this great location. I've been making a list of places I want to go, things I want to see, and food that I want to eat. I want to go to Boston in the fall, go see a Ballet in NYC, and eat lobsters in Maine. I want to wander, examine, and tour anything and everything the East Coast has to offer. If you have any suggestions... let me know.... there is a comment section at the bottom...

So... as I'm settling in to my new home here on the Potomac River, I've decided to do just that. The first place I've decided to explore is of course... the great city just right down the road.

The past couple of weeks I've taken a few trips trips here and there, to go "see the sights", meet some friends for drinks, or grab some dinner "in-town". On these trips I've learned a few things...

1. the cab driver always knows where they are going... even if they don't.

2. parallel parking should have never been taken off of the driving test.

3. they are ALWAYS trying to "improve your experience here on the D.C. Metro" by working on the tracks... ALWAYS.

I've also determined one other thing... the Metro is a very... how should I put it?... fascinating place. If you are a people watcher... like me... the Metro is the place for you.

Since being here I've been on the Metro at varying times, on differing days of the week, and from what I've noticed, it is never a dull experience. From my different escapades on the Metro I've come up with a list of the "typical" Metro Riders... now grant it, these are not all of the "typical" types of people you will encounter, but some... stay tuned part 2 will be coming.

1. The "Rushed" Metro Rider

From the first second you start to descend down the stairs, or the inevitable, broken escalator, you will have your first encounter, the "Oh Gosh! I Have to Run, Knock Everyone Down, and Get on THIS Train, Even Though Another One is 2-minutes Away" Metro Rider. This Metro Rider is by far my favorite to watch, after I've dodged them of course.  I like to watch them for a number of reasons, but mainly.... the end result.  One of three things usually happens, 1. they make the train, 2. they miss the train, or 3. they make the train and have to wait.  If they make the train, good for them, hopefully they haven't caused too much wreckage along the way.  In the second scenario they miss the train and have to wait for the one, now generally one is less than 5 or so minutes away, depending on the time, but of course they are terribly upset that they will have to... wait. Generally you can judge how upset they will be by what they are wearing... BEWARE of THE POWER SUIT.  But even better is the third outcome, they hurry as fast as they can, and then the train sits there, and everyone who was trying to get to the same train, that the "Rushed" Metro Rider just knocked down by racing past, also gets on the train. You then should seek out the "Rushed" Metro Rider... he/she will be the one wiping the sweat from their brow, ducking the stares of those he/she moments before rammed down.

2. The "Family Man" Metro Rider

God bless this Metro rider, he is the dad who whether by choice, or urging of his wife, has brought the kids to D.C. to learn a little more about the blessed U.S. of A. He is generally the man in white tennis shoes, long white socks, denim shorts, a fanny pack, and that little spot where he's starting to bald is also starting to get a serious sunburn.  Okay, okay, I realize that I basically just described every dad in America, but what sets the D.C. tourist dad apart, is the look he gives you. Now it's kind of hard to describe this look, but I will do my best... it's the look of "HELP ME!" If you've never been a tourist to D.C. then this might be hard to understand, but if you have, then you maybe can sympathize. Lets begin with how his day started... He, his wife, and 3 kids began their beautiful 90-100 degree day with a complimentary breakfast at the hotel, score, dad is feeling pretty good about that one.  By some miracle he had them out of the door by 9:30am and they are headed to Arlington Cemetery. They walked around for a while then decided to head to the National Mall. While he doesn't know it, this is where it all really begins... The National Mall where the main branches of the Smithsonian are located (there are 17 museums and galleries total in D.C.), as well as the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial, is roughly 2 miles long and a little less than 0.5 miles across. Now I know, some of you are thinking, "that just doesn't seem that far"... well add a 4 year old in a stroller, a 8 year old on your back, and the 13 year old complaining that her "cell phone is going to die" and how is she "going to see what her friends are doing at home if she can't get on facebook, hop on the Metro going to meet your friends for dinner this man has had a FULL day. The man deserves a medal, but don't try to give him one, he's so tired the extra weight will most likely make him crumble on the spot. So, next time you're on the Metro, remember when you see the "Family Man" Metro Rider to give him a sympathetic smile as you scoot over to give him a seat.

3. The "Ronald Reagan" Metro Rider

Ronald Reagan, as most of you may know, was known as the "Great Communicator"... however, I've met a few people on the Metro who could give him a run for his money.  While Reagan got his name from his ability as an orator, these men and woman deserve the title strictly for their ability to "communicate" with anything or anyone, and many of them don't have the gift of keeping their speeches short and to the point. I guess I should call them the "William Henry Harrison" Metro Rider. For those of you who don't know, Harrison was the 9th President of the United States who gave an inaugural address that was two hours long, the longest in US history. Don't feel bad I had to look it up.  I mean my goodness, he was only in office 32 days before he died of pneumonia.  Fun fact: he was the oldest President elected until Reagan in 1980. I digress... The "Ronald Reagan" Metro Rider is not that common, but when he/she comes along you don't forget it.  I compare this Metro Rider to that person on the plane that walks on board without a bag, or a suitcase, or a book, or an iPod, and then they proceed to talk your ear off the entire flight.  A wise friend of mine from the beautiful state of North Carolina once told me to always carry a book on a plane, to never look up to see who sits next to you, and to focus on the book at all times. I believe the same approach should be applied to the Metro because you never know when the "Ronald Reagan" Metro Rider is going to step through those sliding doors and plop down next to you, ready and willing, even if you aren't, to show you their abilities as a communicator.

If these don't make you want to start shelling out the money for a cab, the next ones will...

Next Stop...

I'll explore these "typical" Metro Riders in the weeks to come....

  • The "Cell Phone" Metro Rider
  • The "Space Planing" Metro Rider
  • The "I Haul Everything I Own With Me" Metro Rider
  • The "Let's Include Everyone in our Conversation" Metro Rider Group