Sunday, January 13, 2008

No Pants Party, II

Ah, well, the pantless party.
I went downtown yesterday, where the Chinatown stop allowed endless wandering through the Portrait Gallery, moseying to Eat First, and shuffling through Cowgirl Creamery, my cheese monger. My sister promised me alcohol at lunch and $5 if I'd join the throngs and remove my pants. Though I was wearing very pretty underwear, I declined on the basis that it was too cold. Truth be told, if it was more than humor these partiers stood for--WMATA's lacking funds, new trains, end of war, anything--I would have agreed. I might have done it for free...

There were hoots, hollers, cheers, and general, "WHOOOOOO!" from the green platform at the station around 4:15 p.m., followed by flashes of light. The red line platform was full of commuters and tourists at this point, all equally exhausted, and it became apparent that there would be no love for the pantless partiers on my train. Instead, my train held a different saga.

My mother and I boarded a train heading to Shady Grove around 4:20 p.m. We shuffled into the train, and as she found a stray seat, I found a vacant spot at the door. This turned out to be especially unfortunate for a sometimes-stiff (I embrace my east coast chilliness) commuting disposition, as I found myself pressed against an especially large stroller. Packed like sardines with tourists, fogies, and students, I turned to my right to find a wayward B.O.B. Stroller Strides Blah Blah Blah You Have To Be Kidding Me This Is Ridiculously Large, I'll Be Luck To Afford A Card This Large Before I'm 40.
Measuring at an obscene...wait...the manufacturer doesn't list its size! That must be because it's at least three feet wide and three feet high. The device promises that it features "Fast, two-step fold-up design for stow-and-go portability," and that the "Front wheel swivels for unmatched maneuverability in tight spaces and locks forward for reliable running over uneven surfaces," yet the irresponsible owner failed to take advantage of these features with her $549 instrument of inconvenience. Rather, she sat one burbling child on her lap while allowing this monstrosity to obstruct space that would allow five more people to stand.
But she did more than own a 100 lb. mass of clunky metal. While the machine glided in the car, taking out both of my kidneys with its force, she took the handicapped/elderly seat, obstructed an adjacent seat with her back pack (which, at the size of a small child, should have been stowed under her seat), and refused to let people sit in the unoccupied seat next to her bag.
This woman was the most selfish, spoiled, and irresponsible woman in Washington, DC. And from a former "anarchist", in a city rife with disappointing politicians, and brimming with scandal, I think I'm saying a lot.
When the waifish riders managed, just barely, to squeeze past, she shot dirty looks. How dare you touch my stroller and occupy my space, she said. That I forced my mother to sit near her must have really touched a nerve. Paired with my sighs and occasional dirty looks (maturity in these situations is not my strong point) we failed to make eye contact.
At a busy stop riders tried to board, but we were packed too tightly. "MOVE TO THE BACK," a woman trying to board shouted. The people near her tried to explain that was not the problem. Afterall, we were packed to the opposing doors. When the woman began to shove people into me I hollered, "WE CAN'T GO ANYWHERE, WE'RE PACKED TO THE BACK." When I offended her, my compatriots yelled, "WE'RE BACK HERE WITH A STROLLER, THERE'S NOWHERE TO GOOOOOO." Still not enough, she shoved more, and I yelled, again, startling all around me, "WE'RE PACKED BACK HERE WITH A STROLLER. GET ON THE NEXT TRAIN, WE CAN'T MOVE," the shoving refused to cease, so I repeated ad nauseum until the next stop, "GET ON THE NEXT TRAIN OR FIND ANOTHER DOOR, GET ON THE NEXT TRAIN OR FIND ANOTHER DOOR, GET ON THE NEXT TRAIN OR FIND ANOTHER DOOR, GET ON THE NEXT TRAIN OR FIND ANOTHER DOOR," making me both obnoxious in addition to unsympathetic.
A man later had the gall to ask to sit next to this woman's bag and she told him, "No, this is where my bag is. You can't." And do you know what happened? DO YOU? He said Okay. He put his bag on a seat and stood near a door. He abandoned his property to make her comfortable. I could have rung his neck for not standing up for his right to sit, that jerk. Her throat clearing and seat shifting eventually forced him back to his property, which he removed, and held until his stop twenty minutes later.
Then my mother turned on me by joining the masses of old people and cooing to the baby. AW, YOU'RE SO CUTE, they cooed in unison. The turncoats forgot what this woman had done, how she told people to stand, turned people in need of a seat away, and used her burbling, drooling, bag of baby meat as a way to deflect criticism. But your baby charm won't work on me, lady. It won't work at Target, or the grocery store, where you will take up the entire aisle, that's how big your stroller is, thanks, or anywhere else. I promise to hate your stroller forever, too. Thanks for ruining my entire life with you selfishness.
The whole thing takes away the fun of people without pants. It makes The Washington Post's humorous article about the experience a little less fun. It definitely makes me hate yuppie parents a little more. One day my sisters might be yuppie parents and I'll have to get over. I'll probably just say, "REMEMBER HOW I WAS ON THE METRO AND THIS WOMAN REPRESENTED THE UNENDING DISAPPOINTMENT IN HUMANITY? DON'T DO THAT." They will sigh and roll their eyes and after 20 minutes of begging agree, no, we won't, we're so fabulous that we won't bother anyway, and then I'll get offended and in a huff and pout until they promise me beer or ice cream. Or both. Probably both.
And now I'm so cranky I can hardly expound on MTA's unending discussion on safety. Still not what I have in mind, guys.

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