Today’s Metro Lesson: Wherein I Almost Maul A Stupid Tourist But Bestow Helfpul Advice Instead

I was boarding the train at Rosslyn, noting the disproportionately high number of Uggs being sported by the female contingent of the Commutership, when a woman elbowed her way past me. Totally a tourist; she was clutching a Metro Map like it was etched in gold.

McElbows Amazon Tall Tourist Woman (in her Declaration Voice): I can’t stand here. I get off in one stop. (This is when she glared at me.) You have to switch places with me.

Me (eyeing the fanny pack strapped over her hot pink Columbia Geothermal SporTech Wind Resister 5000, and wondering how long it took to find a coat to match her 1986 relic): Um, pass. You’re two feet from the door and you’ll have eons of time to get off. Also, if we switch, there is nothing to hold onto but the bars overhead. I’m too short to reach the bars overhead and you can. I’m happy here, next to the pole.

McElbows (holding up her Metro Map threateningly): SWITCH WITH ME!

Me (maybe overreacting a wee bit, due in part to countless Annoying Tourists Incidents this week): NO! And you can’t make me.

McElbows, deciding she could force the situation, started to shove and bumped into an Eskimo-bundled Older Lady, who consequently looked like she wanted to bitch slap McElbows with her Grandma bag.

McElbows (totally breaking the Metro Code Of Silence): MOOOOOOOOOOVE!

Me (rolling my eyes and deciding I’d not had enough morning Diet Coke to put up with this hassle): Fine. Whatever.

So, we did the Switcheroo Dance. You know, the hip-locked 180-degree turn thing that probably originated in some remote South Pacific Island as a lusty courtship ritual but has now been universally adopted by Metro riders as the proper maneuver for exchanging spots during rush hour.

McElbows (clearly a crankypuss this morning): Your music is too loud.

Me (wearing my headphones solely as an anti-cold-weather ear-protectant, having not been able to locate any form of appropriate headgear this morning): It’s not on.

McElbows (with no concept of an Inside Voice, let alone a Metro Voice): TURN DOWN YOUR EFFING MUSIC!

Another Member Of The Commutership Who Should Be Awarded A Valor Medal For Willing Jumping Onto McElbows’ Radar: It’s not too loud, I can’t hear it and I am so close, I am practically grinding on her leg.

Me (feeling validated and superior): Like I said, it’s not on.

And that’s when we pulled into Foggy Bottom. Where McElbows supposedly was going to get off.

McElbows (tapping me on the head, which was level with her waist, thanks to her Giantess heritage): What stop is this? Is it Smithsonian? Because I have to get off at Smithsonian. Is this it?

Me (absolutely dreading four more days of similar behavior): No, this is Foggy Bottom. You have about four more stops. Please stop touching my head with your man-hands.

That’s when McElbows decided her seven layers of thermal clothing had to come off. Sure, every other Metro Rider was encased in yards of Gortex and fleece but they were all quietly sweating, feeling no need strip anything more than their gloves. And maybe a hat. Because that’s how things work in Commuterland.

McElbows (unable to get her arm out of her puffy sleeve, because the train was Tokyo Crowded): MOOOOVVVVEEEEEE!

Me (not sure if that was directed towards me, or to all the commuters within a five foot radius of McElbows, so mumbling): I can’t hear you over my turned-off iPod.

Another Member Of The Commutership Who Should Be Awarded A Valor Medal For Willing Jumping Onto McElbows’ Radar: *snicker, snicker, guffaw*

The train pulled into Farragut West and half of humanity began to exit. McElbows got swept up in the crowd and was pushed off the train by passive aggressive riders bent on exacting their special form of Commutership Revenge by not letting her back on board. I stepped off the train behind her and did my best to put distance between us.

McElbows (apparently faster than I thought, tapping my head): Hey, hey, hey! Why did you push me off the train? This isn’t my stop.

Me (trying to decide if “tourist” would be an acceptable defense before a jury of my peers): I did not push you off and please leave my hair alone.

Suddenly, like an angel from heaven, Another Member Of The Commutership Who Should Be Awarded A Valor Medal For Willing Jumping Onto McElbows’ Radar appeared. If things got ugly, I figured I had a witness. I was going in.

Me (doing the general DC populous a solid by educating this moron): Let me give you a little Visiting the District 101. First, don’t tell a DC resident how to ride the Metro. Some of them will cut you. Second, leave your coat on while you ride the Metro. If it helps, think of it as a protective anti-groping layer between you and the pervy guy who is trying to cop a feel. Third, don’t tell a person to turn down their music. The proper thing to do is to glare disapprovingly in their general direction. Unless it’s Kenny G. Then you can totally ask them to turn it down. Finally, it’s stand right, walk left. That’s one you better memorize now or else you’re going to get pushed down the Rosslyn Megascalator. Helpful hint: your left hand can make an L-shape if you go like this (that’s where I demonstrate). If you have a problem with any of these rules, write an angry letter to WMATA. They’re very responsive.

And with that, I pranced up the escalator.


20 Responses to “Today’s Metro Lesson: Wherein I Almost Maul A Stupid Tourist But Bestow Helfpul Advice Instead”

  1. restaurantrefugee Says:

    Besides reminding me to be grateful for not having to commute that way anymore, this story is testimony to your enduring grace. I probably would have been less, ahem, tactful in my response to this exceedingly boorish behavior.

    Please Note: It took everything in my power not to push her onto the scary third rail, Amazonian or not.

  2. charlotteharris Says:

    You’re my hero! Ya know, I am *so sure* I’d have thought up something totally as clever… only 5 minutes too late and long after the crazy tourist was out of earshot. I have the biting retorts but awful timing. You have both. You are awesome for your quick wit!

    Muuuwah. Love you, too.

  3. PQNation Says:

    Whoa, you get off at Farragut West? You are eerily close to my job then…LOL

    And ohmygod, I’m sorry that you had to deal with her but I could not stop laughing…

    Reason #104 I don’t ride the metro unless I have to.

    It’s almost over. Just one more week…

    Can NOT wait until the tourists are hibernating for the winter again!!!

  4. gwgirl Says:

    i have to second the comment about you being my hero. I’m pretty horrified about what the next few days holds for us…

    Bunker down and pray for patience.

  5. Shannon Says:

    We work near each other! We should totally be lunch buddies!

    I occasionally do ask people to turn their music down…yesterday, a woman was blasting gangsta rap on her BlackBerry, no earphones. I politely asked if she had earphones, she politely said no and offered to turn it off. No big deal, and I think most people were grateful that I’d spoken up. I think most rudeness comes from obliviousness, vs. genuine ill will.

    First, I would love to be lunch buddies. Second, people are usually pretty considerate about the music. But I’ve never heard somebody play it without earphones…

  6. Shannon Says:

    Also, unicorns are real!

    I have a shirt which says that. And it’s my favorite.

  7. Laura Says:

    That was amazing! Thank you so much for being the commutership ambassador and telling the tourists like it is.

    Do I get to be a WMATA employee now? Or at least a name tag?

  8. lacochran Says:

    When I encounter someone like that, that Seinfeld line comes to mind:

    “Shouldn’t you be on a ledge somewhere?”

    So that I can push…

  9. Brett Says:

    I hope every single word of that was true.

    It was, except the write to WMATA line. That came, with permission, from another person’s crap Metro ride this morning.

  10. Herb Says:

    so other than that how is Jill Biden doing?

    Wait, I thought she only rode AMTRAK?

  11. Fiery Nuggets Says:

    I think you are awesome! That is the best story I’ve heard in weeks. I cannot believe the audacity. AND your reaction was priceless. Clearly this woman had mental health problems. If this is what we as a collective group of DC dwellers are in for this weekend, I’m entering the fortress of solitude and not coming out until Thursday.

    I know this goes against the whole solitude concept, but do you have extra room?

    PS — If somebody guilts me by saying she might have been autistic like last time, I will cut YOU. Because she wasn’t. She was just Cra.Zee.

  12. LiLu Says:

    “I was boarding the train at Rosslyn, noting the disproportionately high number of Uggs being sported by the female contingent of the Commutership” was totally revenge for the Crocs did, wasn’t it?

    ❤ See you Sunday, babe.

    With bells on. And booze in hand.

  13. LiLu Says:

    *Crocs DIG. I’m tired.

    As I commented somewhere today, Uggs are my “winter crocs.”

    I have no shame.

  14. Kevin Says:

    Wasn’t it Don Henley who sang “Somebody’s going to emergency, somebody’s going to jail…” Well, for the next week I’m gonna bet it’ll be “Somebody’s going to emergency, while all of us laugh at them.” OK, I know it doesn’t rhyme, but YOU deserve a medal.

    I think I’m adding that song to my Inauguration playlist. Which leads me to post an entire entry devoted to said subject?

  15. Fiery Nuggets Says:

    I’m thrilled to host others in my fortess, as long as I don’t have to leave the house. Bring the party to me!

    Do you have vodka?

  16. Maxie Says:

    Oh LORD. Where do people like that come from?!?

  17. AnonaEsq Says:

    You are getting soft in your advancing age. Not that we have many tourists here in Cowtown, except for The Arnold, but I expect your response would have been limited to two words on the COTA.

    Wait, you never rode the COTA, did you? Ok, the two word words would have been my response on COTA.

  18. J.M. Tewkesbury Says:

    I have no words for this. Some people are just too unbelievable. My retort would have been, “Touch my hair one more time and I’ll have you arrested for assault. Now f*ck off!” See? This is why I don’t ride Metro and why I work from home. I don’t play nice with others.

  19. Laina Says:

    I’m with Anona–keep it short and sweet. A little F and U go a long way. Seriously, it’s like you have some sort of signal that attracts crazy people to you.

  20. Zandria Says:

    I think it’s about time you stopped riding the Metro. I’m getting scared for you. 🙂

    Reason #190683 why I need to move into the city.

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