Despite nearly constant track work, broken escalators, and elevators that occasionally break midway between the ground and the underground, the DC metro can be an efficient way to get around the city. Every time I’m on the train though, I’m struck by the completely bizarre mishmash of randos around me. Maybe it’s because I work from home so I rarely come into contact with other human beings anymore, but riding public transportation at rush hour makes for some excellent people watching.
Here are five of The Usual Suspects you can expect to find on the DC Metro.
The Sick Person
There’s nothing I hate more than sick people. Sick people should stay home, pull the covers over their heads, and sleep until they’re healthy. So, when an otherwise cute girl gets on the metro hacking up chunks of her esophagus, I immediately give her my devil eyes. COVER YOUR MOUTH. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Seriously, why do people think they aren’t gross?
The Aggressive Nose Breather
While most would agree that nose breathers are better than orange-juice-breath mouth breathers, the aggressive nose breather is an all too common sight on the metro. This person is usually male, usually slightly overweight, and usually between the ages of 50 and 70. You may find there is too much of an overly spicy cologne seeping from his pores, gel in his hair, and his face is shaved mostly free of stubble. It’s not uncommon to see the aggressive nose breather with a mint or cherry-scented cough drop rolling around his tongue – possibly causing the noisy exit of air from his nasal cavity. Phfff. Phhhhf.
The New York Girl
DC is an important city but we are not a cool city. Well, I mean, I kind of think we’re cool, but my friends who visit from bigger cities tell me otherwise. Of course, New York girl is a regular public transit-er. She usually sports a look of sheer disdain for the humdrum DC world around her and she is decked out in outfits meant for a very different environment. In DC, it is sensible to wear flats. It is sensible to wear a warm coat in the wintertime. It is sensible to put on your Ann Taylor suit separates, smear chapstick on your lips, and run a comb through your wet hair before you head to your very dull non-profit job on 16th street. New York girl ignores what is sensible in this city. Her stilettos add five inches of height and five spoonfuls of “I don’t belong here”. Her overly glossy lips scream “LOOK AT THIS PERFECT POUT I DON’T BELONG HERE”. Her keratin sleek locks say to DC girls “your hair is frizzy mine is not so clearly I don’t belong here.”
You know that large, sexually ambiguous person who gets on the metro and immediately sits down next to you, wedging you up against the sticky window? Yeah you do. Well, is it a guy? Is it a girl? Those are boobs, right? But, you could almost swear that is some legit stubble under his/her chin. Wait, maybe it’s man boobs? No… it looks like he/she’s rocking some hips too. Hold up. Time to check for the adam’s apple. Oh. Of course – there’s a gender-neutral scarf wrapped around the base of their neck completely obscuring the one little bit of proof that might indicate their sex (barring the sight of an actual reproductive organ). Meh – whatever. You’ll try not to stare and just assume it’s someone “in transition”.
The Lone Child
It’s like – are you four? Are you eleven? Where are your parents? No matter the time of day, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll spot a small, seemingly parent-less child wandering the train. If you weren’t super stressed on your morning commute, you’d stop and ask if they needed help but you just don’t have time for other people right now. You have the Express to skim and a latte to finish before your stop.