A Metro Way of Life!

November 20, 2007

  Found At:  http://americanobserver.net/2007/11/08/a-metro-way-of-life/


A Metro way of life

Observer Contributor
Nov. 8, 2007

Samuel Crawford is a freelance writer, living in Suitland, Md. He said he wants to help as many people as he can, through his writings, his songs and his poems. His writings are inspired by a desire to see things, people and situations change. His favorite quote is “It does not matter how much you pay in life; as long as you give more than what is required, you will receive CHANGE!”

Washington subway
Photo By Samuel Crawford

There are many ways of life and we all seem to travel on our own individual paths. Yet, life always seems to bring us together with common experiences. We have similar jobs, stores to shop in, methods of transportation and, well, so much it would be impossible to mention all. The experiences we have differ and sometimes we never get to experience the things others do. We do not understand others, yet we walk in their shoes and that is why I want to share the Metro way of life of “Just going with the flow.” It is far different from anything you can imagine, unless you experience or see it for yourself.

It is definitely different from riding in a car or truck; the most notable difference is that you are not in control of the vehicle. When you drive you are responsible for the movement, direction of travel, and sometimes the time it takes to get to your destination and so much more. In your car you always have seats to sit in, you choose the road you are going to travel on, and when there is traffic, you can go around it or go somewhere and wait for it to diminish. In your car you have control over the noise and what is heard, if the radio is too loud you can turn it down.

It is not that way on the metro. You cannot always count on having a place to sit. Your destination has very few alternate routes to travel, and in the case of traffic, you might as well be prepared for one of the most intense experience of your life. You may come across some people that believe you need to hear how great they do or do not sing, others believe you should be listening to the same song they are, so they turn it up really loud. It is the total opposite of being in a car and is a totally different way of life altogether.

The Metro way of life is not for any one particular group or type of individual. Everyone uses it; rich, poor, young, old, people on the way to work, children on their way to school, visitors and locals going around the city, all types of people use it. It is a way of life for many.

For the most part, the people you meet are very friendly and talkative. Although, you will have your usual grumps and people not wanting to be bothered. You will see many people from every race and creed living their life the Metro way. You will often hear multiple languages being spoken and also see the cultural changes in people and the way they dress.

Some may say what is so unusual about that? I can see and hear all of that almost everywhere I go. This is true, but your experience is different. If your way of life is through a personal car, it is a complicated luxury. See, you have to keep gassing up your car, you have to pay for its maintenance, you have to drive, you have to be more aware of your surroundings, you have to choose which way to go, you are limited by how many people you can travel with, you have to worry about parking and other drivers! The list is inexhaustible, but the points are all the same, everything depends on you and your time.

The luxury part comes in when you look at the not-so-obvious things: what time your vehicle is available and not what time the metro is open; you can choose when and where you go. You choose the time in which you leave, you choose how fast you will travel, you choose and set things to be fixed according to you and your schedule, you have an unlimited number of places you can go. Wherever you want to go, you jump in the car and go without thought.

Whereas, the Metro is not this way; the Metro life revolves around the subway system and the places close by. Many will walk or venture out for a few miles away from the Metro, but most stay within walking distance at all times. Their work is by the Metro, their house, apartment or condo is by the Metro, they shop at the stores or malls by the Metro, the people they know ride the Metro and their time is set by the hours of the Metro.

The Metro life has a different time schedule then those traveling by car. Most people do manage their time and give themselves an extra 15 minutes or so to reach their destination. Yet, for the Metro life, 15 minutes is the amount of time you may have to wait for a train. When living the Metro life you have to take into consideration that you may have to wait for two or three trains depending on where you are and your destination. Time spent on the Metro is considerably different than what you would spend in your car, the amount of time it takes you to drive 12 miles may be only 15 minutes, but by Metro, the same 12 miles may take one hour. Some people spend two or three hours of their day on the trains. Many bring books to read, some sleep, some study, others do their work they bring home from the office, bootleggers sell their merchandise and others just watch everything and everyone. (You will see some very interesting things.)

If you are a frequent Metro rider you are aware of rush hour. Most times when you want to go forward you just use your legs and walk, but when you feel kind of lazy, just get in front of one of the rushes for the door and you won’t even need to use your legs to go forward. Everyone just pushes you along; in the doors, out the doors, up the escalator, down the escalator, in the elevator, out the elevator; through the entire metro station you will find a flow of people in a RUSH – and, if you are not ready, you will be unwillingly going with them. People will literally squeeze into the train, push you and try to get out of the doorway before it closes. One minute there are plenty of seats, and the next you find yourself being forced to wait for the next train because the one in front of you is packed like a can of sardines.

The crazy part about all of this is that every person has adapted to it, except those who do not live the Metro way life. The children know how to react and what to do; the handicapped and elderly have also discovered how to go with the flow. Once, I saw a man in a wheel chair moving two or three times faster than the speed most people walk; he went zooming around the corner to get to the elevator to make his train.

The Metro way of life is a life of change; nothing is ever exactly the same. There are constantly things either delaying or changing the times of trains or availability of trains. Most times you never see the same people; the trains isn’t the one you rode previously, your seat is different, the atmosphere is different. Sometimes you have to wait for a train and change your schedule; you may arrive early and have to do the same.

Many times we expect things to be our way, we make our schedules, and we make OUR plans; where we go and when we go. Some even feel life should revolve around them and yet others “Just go with the flow.” The Metro way of life can offer many great experiences and if you really look at this way of life you will discover a secret that will make your life so much easier.

As said before; the Metro life is a life full of change. But if we react in the Metro way, we will learn that life brings change and the best way to deal with change is not to complain or protest it. The best way to react to life’s change is to make the best of it and … “Just go with the flow!”

Helpful hints to easy Metro travel
• Know what time the metro station closest to you, and your destination, opens and closes.
• Give yourself at least one hour of leeway in your schedule.
• Get a map from any of the Metro stations. The Maps also have a time schedule and a description of the route of each train.
• Keep in mind there are different color train routes that use the same track. Ensure it is the right train before you get on.
• Plan your trip before you get to the station. (Late planning causes you to miss your train or get on the wrong one. These are unnecessary delays.)
• Time of train arrivals can be viewed on screens by the train tracks and gate entrances.
• If you get confused or disorientated, ask someone or go to the Metro assistants by each gate. They can help you, often times you see them wearing neon vests.
• Make sure you have smaller bills to pay fares with, only a certain amount of change is given and it is all in quarters.
• Come expecting change and “Just Go with the flow.”


One Response to “A Metro Way of Life!”

  1. April Peters said

    Great writing! I loved the fact that it reminds me of a bus also. I used to catch the bus downtown when I went to J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College before I was blessed with a car. Even though I am glad I have a car, I miss the “bus life.” I would meet so many interesting people and everybody had a different story- a different destination. I miss that life sometimes. It was so vibrant and full of life. I would just lean on the window and look at the hustle and bustle of downtown. It was an experience that I think molded and shaped me. It helped me not to be afraid of people and their stories. It made me a better person. Sure, sometimes I had to wait for a late bus or sit beside some dirty construction worker, but I appreciated the people, the life, the difference. I learned to respect something so simple like a mode of public transportation. Sometimes what we experience or never experience can clearly affect our lives in a huge way!

    April Peters

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