13 Tips on Surviving any Subway Scenario for Straphangers repulsed by Social Saturation: DC Specific

25 Mar

by Lizzy

1. Practice balancing exercises before entering any metro station. This will ensure absolute control while being shuffled around a metro car. Remember, if you can stand without hands…then you look cool.

2. Platform placement is crucial for commuting comforts.

3. If you are claustrophobic – get over it. Your train will be “holding” in a tunnel under the Potomac River at some point.

4. Be aware. Scout out the best spots to stand in a car, if you can get next to a door without having to step off at every station – that is awesome. I recommend that you do not intentionally stand in the middle section between doors…you will get your ass knocked around (only acceptable if you are secretly craving human contact).

5. Walk with purpose after exiting/entering a station or car…because you are important.

6. If you are a new rider but do not want to look like a new rider, keep the following in mind: do not look around or make eye contact (after a while your neck muscles will be conditioned and staring at the floor will not hurt so bad); do not speak loudly (better if you do not speak at all); do not look at the rail maps inside the train (keep a small one in your pocket); do not lean on the poles (other people have to hold on you know); and finally, get the hell out of the way (be aware that upwards to 20 people typically have to get off and others back on the train in 5-10 seconds).

7. Learn to get really, really close to people without being a creepster.

8. Unfortunately, subway commuters must not take the seasons flippantly. For instance:

  • A. If it is summer, you are a woman, and didn’t have time/forgot to shave or (like me) sweats profusely under your arms for no reason at all, wear a light jacket. If you do not, I guarantee there will be a crowded car and you will be holding the ceiling rail – it happens like clockwork. Weigh the heat and discomfort verses 100 staring metro zombies.
  • B. Winter, you are so loved and ranked so high. Just think…Gloves! (No touching poles anymore), Scarves! (Guy next to you has bad breath? Not a problem), Large Jackets! (Yay for padded contact), Boots! (One can tell so much about a person by what boots they can pull out of the closet – remember people this is DC, we don’t prepare for snow because we love surprises).

9. Pockets – just have them.

10. What you choose to commute with is of vital importance. I, for one, strongly support disaster preparedness. Therefore, here are my sub-lists of survival vitals:

Highly Recommended

  • Small first aid kit (must add tweezers, peppermints, rubber bands, safety pins)
  • Several writing tools (pens – colors customizable to personality, pencils, at least one sharpie)
  • Book (for those long waits at stations because of broken down trains, sick passengers, escalator catastrophes, etc.)
  • Plastic grocery bag (unbelievably diverse tool)
  • Small umbrella (very small)
  • Water bottle (with water)
  • Tic Tacs (or any hunger fighter of your choice)
  • Musical listening devise (iPod, MP3, old school walkman, etc.)
  • Folder with random documents that are of little or no importance at present but keep the other items in your bag from poking you in the back (also falls under entertainment)
  • Personal items (wallet – keep in bag not in pants, glasses, etc)
  • Hand sanitizer (wipes are better…Oh, the things I have seen)
  • Paper clips and other random office supplies (can reside at the bottom of bag)
  • All keys on carabineer (embrace the clip for quick access and key loss prevention)
  • If you are lucky enough to own a cool iPad, net-book, gaming system, etc. Go for it! (But keep it close, [insert scary, gruff, wise old man voice] keep it r-e-a-l close)
  • Advil
  • Kleenex
  • Handkerchief (sometimes during non-winter weather, touching a metro pole is like touching death, keeping this on hand will help on those ultra neurotic days)

Recommended but not required

  • Mini/Airline Alcoholic beverage
  • Mini/Airline Alcoholic beverage
  • Mini/Airline Alcoholic beverage
  • Mini/Airline Alcoholic beverage

Not recommended

  • Sunglasses (breaking factor rated high)
  • Food (you will want to eat it, but you can’t…and that sucks)
  • Heavy___________
  • Anything that you don’t want to get stolen (prepare for the worst, hope for the best)

11. Bag choices. Take this process very seriously. I recommend a medium size bag that has a shoulder strap (will need to move to front, side, and back of body multiple times per trip). Zippers are nice, but compression straps are better, waterproof (or resistant), and inside organizing options. Spend around $100-150 (it’s an investment because you don’t want to be the person that has a bag explosion on an escalator during rush hour…it’s just not pretty). If you are thinking “Pump the brakes…I can’t carry all that stuff, it is way too heavy!” A. stop being a wimp and B. a large bag and long commuting hours is agreat way to justify never exercising…ever. Repeat after me: “my bag is my best friend”.

12. Ways to remain anonymous. First, master your facial expressions (through exhibiting a stone face, blank face, or crazy face it is an excellent way to repel someone wanting to talk with you). If you struggle with this technique you can use the classic “Leave me alone” trick like having your earphones in even if you are not listening to music. My preferred method is the “double whammy”, this is when you keep the earphones in while reading (or not reading) your book.

13. And finally, don’t be the jerk that does not live with a disability but sits in the handicap seats. Yes, I know, a lot of people do it…but that is because they are jerks.

And remember, when you first start riding the metro you will be horrified by the zombie-esque nature of your fellow commuters. But be warned…soon you too will be one of them! Wahahahahahahahahah!
Happy riding!


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One response to “13 Tips on Surviving any Subway Scenario for Straphangers repulsed by Social Saturation: DC Specific

  1. tyrannosauruslists

    March 25, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Lizzy – this list is great! Its practical, and its hilarious – and as someone who rode the London Tube every day for 2 years, I shudder as I relate to this list…(one day I sat on a mysteriously ‘wet’ seat on my way to work…you get my drift).

    Thanks for guest-posting on our site!


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