Tuesday, July 25, 2006
My Social Experiment
People of the Metro, people of the sidewalks, people of the public places - BEWARE!! I've got a plan to get things moving in DC.
There's an epidemic in this city, it's the people who exit a train or a building and just ... stop. They stop moving. They group together. They turn around to see what's behind them. They wait for people behind them. They just stop. And, trust me, I understand the need to make temporary stops while walking around, my mom is a notoriously slow walker and, unless I wanted to end up three blocks ahead of her, I would have to stop to let her catch up.
But what the DC stoppers don't realize is that you have to step to the side in order to appropriately stop walking in a busy place. This means moving to the side of the platform or sidewalk. Don't go through the Metro turnstile and just hang out. Don't step off the escalator, only to glue your feet to the now stationary floor. The floor doesn't work the same way as the escalator, you have to be a little more proactive with the floor, aka you have to WALK.
When people demonstrate any of the actions above, catastrophies result. Crash, bang, boom, accidents abound. It's not pretty, especially during rush hour on the Metro (which is actually about three hours in the morning and afternoon and evening, it's hard to find a time that isn't rush hour on the metro). All this willy-nilly stopping can be downright dangerous.
So here is my plan - I'm going to stop avoiding the stoppers. No longer will I stop short or quickly jump to the side to avoid a hall, platform, or sidewalk tumor. Oh no, I will continue on my path, I will walk right smack into you. I will not hesitate nor deviate from my already set trajectory, I will take you down. Well, not really, I won't try to hurt you, but trust me, you're gonna know when I knock into your stupidly stationary person. And I will not apologize, if anything, the only "I'm sorry" you're gonna hear is "I'm sorry, you were blocking the way."
I think that after a few weeks or months of this, my plan will develop into a thing, an urban myth, or something like that. The Post will run stories of the "Metro Manhandler" (oooh, terrible headline nickname, but I can't think of anything catchier right now). "Reports of subway altercations and assaults are increasing as it appears someone is walking around smacking into people. Events never escalate to violence, but patrons are left quite shocked as the unknown assailant admonishes them for clogging the sidewalk and then takes their leave. Indeed affected passengers and pedestrians have been so impacted by these episodes that they have vowed to observe the rules of public transportation and just keep walking while they are in the main travelway. Though the Washington Post does not condone violence in any way, we applaud this innovative and effective new approach to keeping DC moving."
Sure, I'll have to endure some bumps and bruises along the way, but I see great things coming from this plan. Great, great things.