Have a nice trip – Part Deux

That’s right – part deux! Shout out to #4 in Montreal! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

This might be the end of “school trip” tourist season in DC, but it’s the start of foreigners, convention-goers and family vacation tourist season in the Nation’s capital. Grrreeeaaat… I know tourism really helps the local economy but to the visitors, try to be considerate to those of us who live and work here (or wherever you are visiting.) As a courtesy, I’ve reposted the “Have a Nice Trip, See You Next Fall” post but with some added tips.

If you or someone you know is a non-city dweller that is going to visit a city anytime soon, please take a look at the following transportation-related complaints and try not to be that visitor, ok?

These offenses are equally egregious; they’re not in any order.

1) Can I park here?
After I’ve seen them reading the signage and the meter (which don’t always say the same things), I’ve had visitors ask me (walking down the street after work with my work bag) — can I park here? I always respond the same way — “I don’t know; what’d the sign say?” then I keep it movin’.

If you can’t figure out whether you can park somewhere or not, then I can’t break stride and explain what “no parking/loading zone/7:30am – 6:30pm weekdays” means. I know – the signage may be confusing because it is unfamiliar to you.  But, if you’re not sure if parking is allowed and don’t want to be ticketed or towed, then take the Metro or park in a garage or deck. Or try again and hope to get someone who is willing to entertain your question.

2) Stand to the right; walk to the left.
I thought this was common knowledge but apparently it is not. Just like on the freeway, “slower traffic, keep right.” Same thing for escalators or moving walkways. Stand to the right. Yes – YOU. You and your kids. And your bags. All of y’all – get over to the right and don’t make me nudge you with my umbrella. I use it unabashedly, like a cattle prod.

If you find yourself in the unenviable position of standing to the left during rush hour on the Metro in Washington, DC, you will definitely get pushed, may get your feelings hurt and will probably think that District residents are the rudest people on Earth. Not even. We’ve just got somewhere to be, some train connection to make, some meeting to attend –  and we want you (with nowhere to be, because you’re on holiday) to stand over there, to the right. Stanks.

3) Stand clear of the closing doors.
This is a tricky saying. I know, it sounds like you should back away from the closing doors and wait for the next train. On the contrary, to the experienced Metro rider “stand clear of the closing doors” is akin to seeing a yellow traffic light and no red light camera — BOOK IT! Jam yourself into the train and push the people who are standing by the doors when there’s ample room in the middle of the car. They’re asking for it by standing in the doorway.

But please – this is only for the professional rider who can safely judge when it is ok to book it/jam in and not for those who get their body parts, clothing or accessories stuck in the doors and make the train go out of service and causing delays during rush hour. In other words, visitors and suburban novices, please stand clear of the closing doors so that we can rush past you and make our train. Again, we kindly ‘preciate it.

4) Get off the escalator and keep it movin’.
Once more, I thought this was not only common knowledge but a little physics too. Unless the escalator breaks down immediately after you exit it, there will be other people getting off right behind you. You cannot, therefore, stand in front of the escalator ending and not get mowed down. It’s physically impossible. To avoid injury, please keep moving and step out of the way of others before congregating to decide upon the next historic site you’ll visit.  Much appreciated.

5) Walking, walking, walking, STOP.
Don’t do this. Just don’t. If you are walking and there are people around you that are also walking and you must stop, then move to the side and stop. If you are adults and are joined by hand-holding or the like, please be aware of others trying to pass you as you stroll leisurely through the city. DC’s downtown sidewalks are pretty wide, but if you get 5 or 6 tourists joined up like those cutout paper-people it’s hard to get by without a curt “excuse me” and a chopping motion to break through you.

Consider this a short guide as to acceptable (and unacceptable) transportation-related behavior in the DC area, although the same rules would likely apply to any major metro with a transit system.  Travel safely!


6) To all my tour bus operators…
I’m not sure where you’re visiting from, but wherever it is, I’m sure there are crosswalks there. Here, people are on foot and have to cross the street using the crosswalks. For that reason, please do not park your ginormous tour busses back-to-back through the crosswalks. Where are we to cross the street? It’s bad enough that from the sidewalk, as I wait for the light to change, I have to smell your bus idling in a “NO IDLING – TURN OFF ENGINES” zone because you’re illiterate or inconsiderate (or both.) So knock it off. Turn off your engine and don’t park in the crosswalks.

7) Segs in the City
I don’t know if segways follow the bike/car rules or the pedestrian rules. And I don’t know if they know either, because those segway riders are all over the place with their little helmets on, loyally following their tour leader in a line, looking like detached sections of a caterpillar. Stop clustering up at the corners. Why not remain in your caterpillar line? Instead, you form a blob of bobbleheads on wheels and make it difficult for people on foot to cross the street. I know this is mean. I know it is, but…I am waiting with eyes wide open to see someone fall off one of those things! I saw a tubby oldish guy playing around, going back and forth on one and I was just wishing he’d tip over, but he didn’t. But somebody will. I just hope I’m there to see it.

8) The indecisive Starbucks drink orderers.
I know – there are unlimited options. So many choices! So many beverages! Well guess what? They’re the same ones at your local Starbucks, only they’re here in DC so make it quick or get out of line. I’m probably running late for work actually and having you in front of me discussing all of the drink options with the others in your party is making me later. I propose that all Starbucks that have a lot of non-repeat clientele (even if seasonal) have an express line for experienced orderers, like myself. All of the Sbux newbies or those who aren’t in a hurry can use the other line.

Ok. Now I’m really done. I think that covers just about all of the “beef” I have with tourists. But if I think of anything else, there’ll be a Part 3/Remix!

Content and ideas copyright Samee on Everything (2010).


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