April 5th, 2002


Superheroine for the Masses

I am often concerned that my tales of spreading justice and righting wrongs are interpreted as bullying, and will censor myself in this forum in order to preserve the notion that I work for good, not evil. I felt that way about the events of Monday, April 1 from 5:59-6:01pm. I have run this story past a few people so far and they have assured me that anyone who as either ridden public transportation, lived in a city where there is a surge of tourism at particular times of the year and really, anyone who has had to suffer the presence of other people’s children.

Not only is this week the goddamn Cherry Blossom festival where everyone in the country comes to look at some trees, but Monday night I had the good fortune to get on my crowded-in-the-offseason train not only to be crammed in like some sort of steer because all of the seats were taken up by four-year-olds, but because there was a delay on the line, causing trains to be upwards of 20 minutes late and therefore at double capacity. Anyone who works knows that rush hour is crunch time. Anyone who takes public transportation knows that during rush hour, seconds count. A second can be the difference between catching this train and waiting for the next one.

I manage to get off the train having to suffer through listening to these dozen or so high school students laughing uncontrollably to themselves every time the train stopped short because it jerked them back and forth, nearly causing them to fall on each other, and having to hear at least three couples utter to each other, "I can’t imagine having to do this every day."

Thanks to the delay, I have less than a minute to catch my shuttle. I charge down the platform and straight for the escalator, only to be stopped dead in my tracks. The rule on escalators is, as we all know, walk left/stand right. I look ahead of me to see a woman with two strollers and about four children flocked around her. I look to her and ask, "could you stand to the right please?" She looks at me, looks at her stroller, shrugs, and says, "I’m over as far as I can." Frustrated, but biting my tongue, I smirk and kinda let out a "mmmyeahmmmhmmm". She looks at me, shrugs again and says, "That’s what you get when you travel with children…hahaha."

I couldn’t take it anymore. Her children, the goddamn children on the train—I could bite my tongue no longer. "Maybe you shouldn’t bring your children on the Metro during rush hour then." A simple request; the Metro is no place for children when adults who know where they are going and have to get there fast are rushing around. She seemed surprised by this.

"WHAT?!?! I can’t believe how rude you are!!!"

"I’m not the one who just caused all these people behind you to miss their bus."

"Just by being on the escalator I caused people to miss their bus. Riiight. I seriously doubt that."

"By blocking the escalator, you did."

Some other mother-type who was with her chimes in, "wait 'till *you* have children!"

"When I have children, I’ll be considerate of people around me and make sure they’re not in the way."

"Why are you so bitter?!?!?"

"Because *I'm* not on vacation."

In the Tube in London, signs are everywhere instructing people on the proper side on which to stand and the proper side on which to walk. And, during the summertime at least, there are signs that say "Tourists: Please be courteous of the people who live and work in London and avoid the Underground during peak hours."

I know courtesy is not a dominant DC trait, but we could at least try to ask it of people.
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