Public transportation definitely has its advantages. In a city where morning rush hour lasts from about 6:30 to 10 a.m., and the afternoon/evening rush kicks off around 2 and lasts until somewhere near 8ish, public transport is your best bet for not losing your mind and your morals. Day in and day out, you’re stuck behind an endless trail of red lights, you’re among a cacophony of bad brakes, and shitty ambient radio. It can be pretty hellish.
My first job here was located in Tyson’s Corner – way the fuck out in McLean,Virginia. Not so far when you’re traveling down I-66 on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, with an ice cold sweet tea and your elbows out the windows. The work commute though, was some bullshit. You see, because Virginia is a little different from DC and Maryland; life moves slower out there. And folks get traffic-confused more easily, and succeed in navigating traffic more stupidly. I promise I’m not shittin on the state of Virginia, just its drivers.
I’m convinced that the only way to avoid the powder keg that is DC traffic is to avoid it altogether. After the Washington Nationals stadium was built, people complained tirelessly about how bad traffic and parking were. In response, some fella wrote a column titled, “Seriously, Take the Metro.” I completely agree.
…except that there’s some shit you gotta be ready for if you plan to metro. As a matter of full disclosure, I don’t really mess with the Blue, Yellow, or Orange lines. My points of reference are Red and Green Lines — Northwest DC/Maryland down to Southeast DC/Prince George’s County. I get the entire gamut of crazy. Here are a few of my recent observations and few suggestions. You know, because I care.
- Gentrification isn’t pushing through Anacostia and Congress Heights fast enough. Say what you want about the people and the unfairness and the blah blah blah. Many of the cats that get on the train and off the train at Anacostia and Congress Heights aint shit. They may have jobs, and they may have children, and seem, for all intents and purposes, “normal.” They aint though. They will shank you if you cross them. Don’t fuck around with this stop;
- There’s always a guy who’s determined not to hold on to anything to keep himself from shifting and almost falling. He’s unwisely adopted the “I’mma just stand real wide and plant myself” method of metrorailing. Eventually, he and his humongous backpack will bump you. And you will hate him. Because all his simple ass had to do was hold the fuck on to something. Something more reliable than his ill-conceived center of gravity;
- Were I to judge DC’s young Black male population by its metro riders, I’d assume…nevermind. I love my people. But I’ll say this: Young brothas, these raggedy dred locs, skinny jeans, and extra big sneakers need to be reconsidered. And post-haste, please;
- I don’t care how badly you need to get to wherever you goin, you must acknowledge that sometimes the train is too fucking full. There is no room for you! And your bag, and your golf umbrella. Another train comes in 3 minutes. Wait for it!
- On average, the rail cars on the metro are about 98% Black once they pass through L’Enfant Plaza. On Nats game days, white people heed the columnist’s warning and smash themselves into the mix. It makes for a very uncomfortable ride, as most of the Black people seem prepared for a quiet ride home after long day at a job they hate. The game goers on the other hand, are typically rambunctious, a little tipsy offa life and light beer, and completely unaware of the sanctity of personal space. The young white fella don’t know it, but he is always about 30 seconds away from a “sick and tiiiiied” Black woman going the fuck off if he bumps her one. mo. time.
- And finally, with regard to the most egregious offense: contrary to what y’all mighta been thinking, that device you got from Boost Mobile or Cricket Wireless is NOT a radio. If you don’t plug some earphones into that shit… There hasn’t been a song created that sounds good enough to be blasted on centimeter-sized mobile phone speakers. And if there was one, WE DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT FROM YOUR CENTIMETER-SIZED MOBILE PHONE SPEAKERS anyway. Plug some headphones into that shit.