Today’s Metro Lesson: Do You Want My Seat?

Baffling Metro Event this morning: a Woman offered me a seat. As a Midwesterner, I am used to random people doing a solid for a stranger. But I also recognize that’s not the General D.C. Way. After several months of living and working in the District, I’ve come to realize there is a Minimum Contact Rule on the Metro: no eye contact, no talking unless it’s to mumble “Excuse Me,” keep several steps between you and the person ahead of you on the escalator, and as much as humanly possible, maintain a six inch perimeter between you and everybody else. So this morning, when a Woman offered me her seat, it shocked the living molasses out of me. Sure, I’ve had the occasional guy offer me his Metro seat, but it’s only when I have four or more enormous packages/purses/bags and am sporting a Death To Everybody look on my face. But today was different. No big bags, no angry looks, no chivalrous men. I can’t figure it out.

Along with the much-appreciated-by me shirts and shoes requirement, I believe Metro Manners decree that a spryer, younger person give up a seat for a senior citizen. This also applies to heavily pregnant women, people with screaming children under age five, and perhaps to a person who looks especially aggravated. But the Woman who offered me her seat was maybe, maybe a decade older than me. Since neither of us qualifies for a Golden Oldies card, I was sans kids, and I am in no way sporting a baby bump, I can’t figure out why she felt like I needed it. Did I look really upset? Sure, I am out of Diet Coke, but I was doing my best to look only marginally pissed off without my usual caffeine fix. And heck, I thought I was doing a pretty good job. The glowering was limited to the tourists.

When she offered the seat, the train was still sitting at the platform and I was putting away my iPod. Sure, I was about to pull out The Mother of All Big Books, but she didn’t know that. And she was reading a paper. What about this situation made me a candidate in need for a seat relinquishment? Frankly, I think she would have wanted to remain seated. That way, when she turned the page of her Express, there would be no newspaper brushing faces of her fellow commuters. Oh, and did I mention the Woman had on heels? I firmly believe that at no time are high heels appropriate Metro Riding Footwear. This is especially true if a person is standing. Aside from the obvious balancing-in-heels issue, one misplaced foot during rush hour, and a fellow commuter could lose a toe. I’m just sayin’. I’m all about the daily shoe swap: wear flats, carry heels, switch footgear at work. Isn’t this standard for DC women? Of course this morning I was channeling my inner-sensible-self and had on flip flops, heels safely tucked away in my purse. Thus, the Woman was more in need of the seat.

Still, she was really insistent that I take her seat. Is it possible she was being nice? That doesn’t happen in DC. So maybe she was part of some covert government operation involving Metro seating and unsuspecting commuters? Because that’s the only plausible explanation I can come up with.


One Response to “Today’s Metro Lesson: Do You Want My Seat?”

  1. Laina Says:

    Well done. 🙂 And I have to ask, is it possible that a certain hissy fit in The Cheesecake Factory led you to include heavily pregnant women in the group of people to be offered seats? 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: