The Karma of Screaming at a Metrobus Operator

Yesterday morning I jumped on a north bound bus, headed for one of the last days of a really great used book sale at one of DC’s libraries. I got a nice stack of trade paperbacks – Philip Roth, Agatha Christie, Cheever – for $5. I had to wait a minute to take a seat because a woman had her bag in the aisle and was leaning over it looking for something. Awkward, and frankly inconsiderate. Anyway, eventually she tucked back into her seat and I got past her. My favorite seat on the newer Metrobuses is just past the exit, up the riser. Left or right, I don’t care, but I like to be in that first row of seats.

Shortly after I boarded, our bus passed the Zoo.

“THIS WAS MY STOP!”

It was the woman who’d been blocking the aisle. Two things were immediately apparent:

A.) She’s an Australian tourist
B.) She doesn’t know how the yellow pull cord works.

Another passenger showed the woman how to pull the stop cord, and the driver made the next stop, but instead of getting off and walking ONE SINGLE BLOCK SOUTH, this tourist insisted on berating the driver. And, incidentally, preventing the bus from proceeding any farther. It’s not that she didn’t make some valid points – she claimed that she’d asked the driver if this bus went to the Zoo, and pointed out that she was new to this country and didn’t know how to signal the stop.

Okay, fine.

But at the same time, just because you ask a driver if a bus is going to a certain area doesn’t mean the driver can guess what stop you’re interested in. Maybe he thought you meant the Woodley Park/Zoo Metro station. Or maybe you were going somewhere in the vicinity of the Zoo. And since the automated system on the bus announces stops, why would he feel the need to point them out to you?

I’ve seen people get on a bus and specifically ask the driver if he or she will be able to tell them when they reach the stop. I’ve never seen a driver not comply. Assuming “Does this bus go to the Zoo?” is not the same as “Will you let me know when we’ve reached the Zoo?”

On the other hand – the woman’s a tourist, she missed her stop, she’s upset … I get it.

Two or three stops later, the bus pulled over to pick up a passenger. A woman got on, swiped her Smartrip card, then noticed something on the floor of the bus. She held up an ID. “Is this anyone’s?”

The woman who’d shown the Australian tourist how to work the pull-cord gasped: “It’s that Australian lady’s!”

Karma made its judgement about who was in the right, and who was in the wrong, on this one.

Nationals Want District Government to Pick Up Cost of Late Night Metro Service

Last Monday, the Nationals game had a rain delay. And then it went into over time. Problem was, lots of people take Metro to the game. And on weeknights, Metro closes at midnight. The Nationals made some announcements that Metro was closing, but I guess a lot of people figured they were kidding, or were too drunk to notice.

Flash forward to the game ending and a lot of people finding themselves stranded at Navy Yard. And, because Metro is DC’s favorite punching bag, everybody blamed Metro. Even though the fault was actually with, yep, your Washington Nationals.

There is an arrangement that sports teams can make with Metro to keep the system running later. Basically, you give Metro a $29,500 deposit to cover their operating costs (that’s per hour) and notify them no later than 11pm on a night when you’ll need the extra service. As reported widely in local media, this not exactly uncommon: The Redskins and the Capitals have this arrangement with Metro. Best part? If you don’t need the service, at the end of the season, you get your deposit back!

But if you DO need this service, man, your fans will be very very very thrilled with you.

Anyway, the Nationals want the DC government to cough up the funds to run extended service if the team makes it into the playoffs.

What?

The Nationals are making a lot of money. Their team is doing is great, and the city is super enthusiastic about the Nationals. Why the Nats are being so penny-pinching about this service is a complete mystery to me. I have a compromise for the Nats: DC government’ll pick up the cost of running Metro extended hours if they repay DC in full for the stadium today.

(Er … not that I’m in any way empowered to make this arrangement, mind you …)

Runner Sweat Bomb

I walked home from work yesterday. This break in the heat has been very nice and I’m looking forward to this autumn and especially to this winter, especially since we’re supposed to get lots of snow.

When I walk home from work, I usually go straight up to 21st, jog just a tad east on Florida, then continue up Connecticut. Sometimes I detour into Kalorama. I like the Spanish steps.

Yesterday, for whatever reason (i.e., I wanted to browse Second Story Books’ books), I went up 20th Street directly to Connecticut. I was on the west side of the street, crossed R, and was passing the bus stop on my right – one of those big glass ones – and these two women were coming the other way on the street, and this runner, this fucking runner, man, shirt off, big and burly, but he was right behind them and coming down the sidewalk pretty damn fast and had this “fuck you, I’m not stopping” expression on his face.

I stopped. I don’t know why. I guess because colliding with a giant sweaty asshole isn’t my idea of a good way to start a free evening. He skidded over to his left as far as he could, then in the rapidly closing space between where I had stopped and the ladies were walking, he hopped through and continued running.

Pretty sure flying sweat got both me, and those women.

I made it home without further incident. Meanwhile, I’m kind of hoping that runner got hit by a bus or something.