“…this train is not your personal bathroom, and you should be ashamed of your conduct.”

Saturday afternoon, I ventured into Virginia for a “hold back the summer” party, which, although a bit of a bear to get too, was tremendously fun.

But back to the “getting too” part, (and the “getting from”), because those are the most blog-worthy.

I arrived at the Huntington Metro and was originally determined to walk to my friends’ place — it’s about a three and a half mile walk, and honestly? That’s not that bad. What is bad is that I didn’t have a map, and couldn’t get my bearings, and I was at the wrong end of the Metro station from the bus terminal I needed, and I couldn’t quite figure out where to walk around the station to get to the other end of it, so I just paid to get back in and reached it that way, and ran into a bunch of protesters getting off the train, and told one lady that her kid, dressed in a little Colonial minuteman outfit was an “adorable little tea-bagger*” and she said thank you which was hilarious because, obviously, that’s not a compliment.

I guess it isn’t so obvious, actually.

Anyway, after waiting at the bus stop for a few minutes, I said, “fuck it” and took a cab. Here’s a fun fact: this is the third time in my life that I’ve ever taken a cab, and since the first and second times were both on an expedition from Timonium to Baltimore for a drunk-fest at a crab restaurant (Obrecki’s, I think), I don’t know that this counts.

That should’ve been it, right? Jump in the cab, Metro to door, let the drinking begin. Alas, did I mention I didn’t have a map? So I knew my friends’ house was off a road, off another road, off another road, but that they’re in a cul-de-sac type development, so when we turned onto that first road, I just told the taxi driver he could drop me off and I’d walk, because how far could it be?

Far. That’s how far, because the road looped back up to the other road, and, well, I kind of wish I’d just had him take me the whole way. But! I got there, and relatively non-sweaty, too, which is always good (I did pack some backup deodorant in my bag, though). Thus commenced several hours of standing around in the kitchen talking and laughing and giggling and at least one time having to leave the room because I was laughing so hard I was pretty sure my ribs were going to explode out of my chest. Peeing on cats is not good practice, but makes for much laughter.

Anyway.

So I caught a ride back to the Metro station — King Street, though. And it’s filled with people heading back into DC to go home, or heading into DC to party. I’d been up since 6:30 (that’s sleeping in for me), and I was pretty damn tired. I’m reading Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard, and I just dove headfirst into it, but even over my iPod, I could hear the conductor of the incoming train on the PA:

“To the customer who is smoking on the platform, smoking is illegal inside the Metro system, and even though this is an open-air station, you are still inside the station. Please extinguish your cigarette, or you may be subject to fine and or arrest.”

I giggled, because, honestly? I wish more Metro employees would be proactive about this kind of stuff. Ever since I’ve started using Medical Center to get to and from work, I’ve been blown away by the amount of folks who smoke on the main escalator bank.

Anyway, I stepped onto a fairly empty train car and settled myself into a seat and continued reading.

Two stops later, the conductor again:

“Attention, customers, this car has eighteen doors: when you all insist on exiting and boarding through three of them, you risk damaging this train, which is a mechanical device. If the doors fail to function, I will have to offload this train, and you will have to wait fifteen minutes for another one. Please think of your fellow passengers.”

And then, after we got going:

“I hope the doors work at the next station, because if not, I’m going to have to offload this train. Please use all doors.”

And then, after we arrived:

“The doors work! Glory glory hallelujah. Please use all available doors, thank you to the customers who spread out along the platform, please use all available doors, the first few train cars are almost completely empty people. No need to pack in like sardines. It’s okay to not bunch up by the escalators.”

By this point, I was enjoying the conductor’s comments more than my book or iPod, and it only got better when he used the PA system to warn a lady on the first car to stop clipping her nails because it wasn’t hygienic and the Metro is not her personal bathroom and she should be ashamed of herself. By this point, me and a few other folks on my car were in complete agreement that this was the best Metro conductor ever.

Well, maybe we were. I don’t know, they might’ve been thinking, “What the fuck?” But I was thinking: this guy is awesome. So much so that I stayed on the train until it went out of service at Fort Totten: “People, what part of ‘out of service’ does not register with you? Stop boarding unless you want to spend the night in the Metro yard!”

*I enjoy the 5th definition.

UPDATE:

Via the Flikr stream of protest photos, I found some familiar faces and signs! These folks were at the Huntington Metro on Saturday.

7 thoughts on ““…this train is not your personal bathroom, and you should be ashamed of your conduct.”

  1. why oh why do so many people clip their nails on the train?!?! so f’in foul. at least once a month i see someone doing that. and you can hear the “snick” even through headphones. it makes me ill.

  2. Yeah, there is one driver on the 501 streetcar here who never fails to crack me up with his comments. Personality goes a long way.

  3. I’m pretty sure I’ve enjoyed the PSAs of this exact same driver. It was priceless. Although I prefer a particular red line conductor who turns your commute into a smooth jazz radio station listen-in with his deep, husky voice: “Red liiine. Shaaaaady Grooooooooooooove.”

  4. LR – I don’t get it either! Seriously, WTF?

    A – It really does!

    Liz – I love the guy who’s all, “Please don’t kick the train, the train has done nothing to you” after a guy got mad when the doors closed before he got on at Chinatown one day. Also, I think I’ve been on that red line conductor’s train!

  5. this metro conductor sounds awesome.

    btw, i loved the compliment. if these people didn’t understand the billionaires for wealthcare, i doubt they would understand that your compliment really wasn’t a compliment. (my favorite definition is #7 b/c it’s so comprehensive)

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