The Five People You Meet in D.C.

Like Albom’s ‘Heaven,’ but not nearly as inspiring… 

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By Alexa Doncsecz

The Tourist — You will meet them as you are entering the metro as they attempt to buy a fare card (rookie mistake). As an added bonus you will meet their extended family. They will be juggling industrial-sized water bottles capable of hydrating a small herd of camels and their bulky DSLR cameras will be set to automatic mode. As you make your way toward the gate they will be right behind you, their telephoto lens digging into your back until you make your escape to the platform. You will meet them on the blue line, and they will ask you if this is the train to Union Station.

The Unpaid Intern — You might catch a blurry glimpse of them in a Starbucks on Capitol Hill getting lattes for the higher-ups. But they are grateful for this opportunity. They are standing tall on the metro with freshly-brushed hair and ironed khakis. Your time with them will be limited, however, as they will soon be running diligently back to the office to continue collating copies.

The Esca-lefter — “Stand on the right, walk on the left” is an essential tenet of DC’s religion, but as with the most commandments, this one gets broken frequently and unapologetically. This is typically an unspoken term but there, I have spoken it. You rush past the gates to see your train pull up and you break into a run. There is about a 50/50 chance you will be able to dart through the doors without losing a limb and the only thing standing between you and not having to wait 20 minutes for the next train is the escalator…and the insensitive rogue standing on the left. You quickly consider your options. You can wait, probably miss your train, but at least you won’t be that miscreant snubbing people on the metro. You can say excuse me, loudly enough to get the point across over the noise of the incoming train of the metro announcer and hoping they get it and move over in time for you to charge double-speed into the closing doors. Or you can jump over the side of the escalator, landing gracefully on your feet and having enough time to enjoy a leisurely stroll into your hard-earned seat. All valid options. And yet all would be unnecessary without the Esca-lefter.

The Rapper — The sign says no music without earbuds, so this mobile street performer has to find a way to share his obscure freestyle his fellow metro-riders during rush hour. You can’t make out a word he’s saying and you probably don’t want to, but you have to give him credit for being able to distract you no matter how high you turn up the volume on your iPod. He’s looking at the ground and busting a move like he just don’t care…and let’s face it, he just don’t care. Everyone is looking at him hoping maybe he’ll shut up but he actually just don’t care.

The Car-Crash Couple — You know, the revolting Public Display of Bodily Fluids couple that you can’t bear to look at and yet you can’t bring yourself to look away, similar to the way one observes a car crash. They will be sitting a few seats in front of you. You will notice them but by definition they will not notice you because all of their mental and physical energy is being devoted entirely to finding out who can consume the other person’s face faster. It’s kind of like a pie eating contest, but less family friendly. Eventually they come up for air and look around. Is this our stop? Nope. Resume.

This article was originally posted on Medium

Alexa Doncsecz is a recent graduate in Biology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Her writing has been published on Thought Catalog and Medium, and she can often be found analyzing the meaning of life from the remote corner of a coffee shop. Talk to her at andoncsecz@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @alexadondon.

Header image by Pawel Loj, Flickr

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