Today’s Metro Lesson: The Natural Order Will Prevail

As most of the Metro Commutership knows, Stand Right, Walk Left is the lynch pin of a fully functional escalator system. But this morning, when some numnut decided social norms didn’t apply to him and stood smack dab IN THE CENTER OF THE ESCALATOR, the system momentarily glitched.

Usually when somebody Stands Left and won’t move, the Walkers just detour around the obstruction. For a step or two, they Walk Right and then revert to course. It’s much like salmon swimming upstream to get laid. Nothing will get in the way of instinct. But even the most determined of journeyers sometimes face hurdles they can’t get around. You know, like dams and idiots who stand in the center of the darn escalator.

So this morning, I was about two people behind the Walk Left Line Leader when she reached Center Stander. Line Leader asked him to move, repeatedly and politely. But Center Stander was either foreign, deaf, or an asshole, because he ignored her. She tried tapping on his shoulder. No response. Meanwhile, the Left Walkers were backing up like Commuter Cattle. Nobody likes their perfectly timed commute to be disrupted and mild grumbling could be heard up the length of the Rosslyn megasclator. Just as the Center Stander came parallel to the elevator (which is the 3/4ths of the way down point) a train pulled into the station. The Commuters, determined not to miss their train, began to get vicious. There were cries of “Move!” and “Get the hell out of the way!” The person behind me wondered out loud if they could slide down the banister. And then, with seeming nonchalance,  the Line Leader pushed the Center Stander down the stairs. Well, it was actually more of a forceful love nudge. Regardless, Center stander was suddenly stumbling down the last few steps.

As Center Stander hit the escalator landing, the tide of sprinting Commuters forced him along. He tried to get outta the way, to hug himself along the safety of the tunnel wall, but the volume of rushing commuters overwhelmed him and he suddenly fell onto all fours. Center Stander stayed there for a minute, paralyzed, until somebody stepped on his hand. He cried out,  but even then, nobody stopped to help. Because that, Seven Loyal Readers, is Urban Darwinism.

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13 Responses to “Today’s Metro Lesson: The Natural Order Will Prevail”

  1. Lyssabits Says:

    Is it kind of horrible that I laughed a little at this man’s plight? Part of me feels like this guy deserved it. Unless he really is deaf or foreign. But even then, seems like anyone could figure out what people wanted from body language.

    Um, I think half the station was laughing at him. You weren’t alone.

  2. lacochran Says:

    Wow! He was being an ass, since Line Leader tapped and everything. Still. Wow.

    I’m surprised she tapped him. It violated the Do Not Touch Metro Code.

  3. Sarah Says:

    Urban Darwinism…love it!!!

    Wait ’til you hear my theories on Social Instinct.

  4. LiLu Says:

    Was I supposed to feel bad? Because I may or may not have felt him stumble via your written word and cackled. Evilly and without remorse. He’ll learn, or he’ll perish. Urban Darwinism is my new favorite phrase.

    Use it wisely.

  5. Stella Says:

    OMG I am laughing so hard I’m crying. Poor guy! Put that one in the “Quintessential DC” file, because if that isn’t a perfect metaphor for the culture here, I don’t know what is… And totally agreed re: Urban Darwinism. Quick! Someone start a new blog.

    Thanks for the linkie link.

  6. michelle Says:

    LOL! yeah that guy was being a jerk! ignoring tapping? unreal… i have in the past politely asked/told “foreign tourists” excuse me, and even they moved (after throwing some phrase where the only word i understood was American!)

    You know, usually foreign tourists are hyper aware of these things. Well, except in Rosslyn, where they are furiously taking pictures of the obscenely long escalator.

  7. Herb Says:

    I also hoped they stomped on his Crocs as they rushed by…

    Actually, I swiped them off his feet…

  8. E Says:

    And no one stopped to think that perhaps this person was some how disabled or autistic after all the signs that he wasn’t picking up on social normative cues.

    OK. Now I feel bad.

  9. J.M. Tewkesbury Says:

    Wow. I felt Metro Comuterships’ pain reading that one and chuckled a little until someone stepped on Center Stander’s hand.

    Either this guy was socially clueless and engaging in a really bad passive-aggressive power play or he was foreign, deaf, and/or autistic. If the former, he got what he deserved. If the latter, that’s just sad. Either way, I have to admit, I would have foregone the train to help him up. No job in this town is worth stepping on a fellow human being to make the train (esp. when there’s another one three minutes behind the one I’m about to miss)–Urban Darwinism or not.

    My wise moral compass has spoken. Gah. I will be nice next time.

  10. Zandria Says:

    That person got what they deserved. I would have been so mad…

    (Loved that part about people wondering if they could slide down the banister!)

    The banister person was my hero for the day.

  11. freckledk Says:

    Oh, that’s brilliant. I wish I were there to witness it in person, although you’ve done a fine job of illustrating it for us!

    You would have loved it. It was beautieous.

  12. Daniel Says:

    Its so dangerous for people to no be aware of their local environment. Particularily when you are the snail and rabbits are about to jack you.

    I’m beginning to think Metro riders are more than rabbits. Hyenas?

  13. Ron Says:

    You passive agressive ubran morons are so f’ng important and cool that you delight in running someone over who may not know all the rules of your secret dumbass club…you should feel so proud of your pathetic selves. I bet you are the same types of confused idiots who protest in the streets for peace, when you would crap on your fellow man because of STANDING on the wrong spot. How about you slow down and show some consideration, John Lenin style-imagine that! Most of you pukes couldn’t pick your nose properly, let alone pick a fight. Try pushing or poking someone who knows how to break heads, and you might find your finger up your bum!!

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