The Fallenposters Blog

Because the posters fell down, duh.

Posts Tagged ‘metro

Elderly Seating

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On the Metro rail ride to work each morning, I tend to sit in the seats that are closest to the doors.  This is due to the fact that the trains always get very crowded when I ride in the mornings and I’m always paranoid that I’m not going to be able to get off at my stop because of the crowd of people that always forms at the doors. 

Since I get to work around 7:30 each morning, I have to get up pretty effin’ early to make sure I get to work on time.  Especially since I have to take a shuttle bus to the metro station and then get on a train to my job.  So I relish in my morning train rides because I get to plug in my iPod, tune out the world and take a nice doze for most of my commute.

But yesterday that was ruined.  You know why?  Because I’m young.  Yes, that’s right, I’m only 24 years old and I look like it! 

I woke up for a minute to look at which station we were at so that I didn’t miss my stop.  Then this older lady (probably in her early 60s) tapped me on the shoulder and said something to me.  But since I had my earbuds in, I didn’t hear what she said (sidebar: I seriously hate it when people try to talk to me when I have my earbuds in–I mean, isn’t it obvious that I don’t want to talk?). 

“Elderly seating,” she repeated.  I looked a little confused at what she was talking about and then she pointed to the sign behind my head.  The sign stated that the seat I was in was priority seating for the elderly and people with disabilities.  I realized what she meant now and gave her my seat.

It didn’t dawn on me that there were 3 other people sitting in these seats near her and yet she choose to pick me.  I looked at the other people in these seats, one woman probably in her 40s, and two men who looked like they were in their 40s as well.

This infuriated me.  How did she know that I didn’t have a disability?  Just because I’m young and I don’t have to use a cane when I walk or ride around in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I might be disability-free.  I remember learning this as a kid because my grandfather had a handicapped parking tag, yet he didn’t walk with a cane or anything.  I used to drive the handicapped around town in Blacksburg, and not everyone had a visible disability.

It just seems to me that this woman saw that I was young compared to the people sitting near me and that I wasn’t visibly disabled, thus I must give up my seat.  It just felt like reverse age discrimination.  And its not that I actually have a disability or anything, it just seems to me that she picked me out of the four around her because I was young. 

Oh well, I guess it wasn’t really a big deal after all.  I mean she didn’t ask me this until I was only one stop away from my destination.  But it was certainly irritating.

Written by Eric Spiegel

May 9, 2007 at 7:09 pm

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Metro Observation #5

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Now, I know that when we all ride the subway, if we can’t get a seat, then we all want to make sure that we will be able to stand and hold our balance. There are many simple techniques one can employ to ensure that they won’t be toppling to the floor when the train stops suddenly. Here are some techniques I have used and find to be very dependable:

  • Hold onto a handrail; either the vertical ones or the small ones that go across the back of the seats.

This technique works like a charm. All you gotta do is hold onto the rail and brace your feet about a shoulder length apart, and you will be good to go. You can use one hand, or two, whichever suits your fancy. If it is crowded, then just use one hand. The only people who would have a hard time with this would be the hand-less. But I’m sure if you’re hand-less, then you probably are daft enough to figure out a way to cope. I mean, come on, you’ve got no hands!

  • Lean against the wall.

Many people seem to prefer this method over the handrail method. Is it because they look cool doing it? Or maybe its because both hands are free, so now you can pour over the latest e-mail forward from your Aunt Millie about Pepsi trying to poison puppies. But I suspect it’s because most people have some strange fear of touching the handrails. I think subway handrails have gotten a bad rap. Probably because most people associate subway handrails with New York City’s germ-infested subway system (which I have no problem passing judgement on at all). But I’m sure its not even that bad anyway. Its not like I’ve seen people licking the hand rails or anything.

  • Cling desperately to another person.

Personally, I tend to only notice small children partaking in this method, so it might not be for everyone. But maybe I can start a trend.

* * *

Now, here are some techniques that I have witnessed that I do not approve of:

  • Hogging the handrail.

Come on people. Unless all the fluid has drained out of your ears, holding onto the handrail with one hand should be sufficient to keep you from falling. You do not need to lean your entire body against the handrail. For one thing, its annoying to anyone else who is forced to try to share said handrail with you. And it is also slightly perverted looking. The handrail is for safety, not for your pleasure.

  • Sitting on the floor.

Ok, so you’re a Metro rider who is fed up with how damn crowded the subway is every time you ride it. I mean come on, 5 pm isn’t that busy really. Everyone should be making room for you! Give me a break. Not only does sitting on the floor take up more freakin’ space than if your lazy ass would have stood up, but it also makes it difficult for people trying to move around you. So unless you want to be stepped on, please don’t sit on the friggin’ floor.

Well that’s all I have for now. In the meantime, try not to be an idiot.

Written by Eric Spiegel

January 23, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Posted in travel & transportation

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Metro Observation #4

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metro-station.jpgI’ve been curious as to how people sleep on the Metro. I’ve never managed to pull off this feat myself, mainly due to fear and paranoia, not because of the noise. In fact, the noise is fairly soothing. If I would let myself, I would probably let the soft clanking of the train lull me to sleep. And if I’m with my wife, I’ll go ahead and let myself go. But if I’m by myself on the Metro (which is most of the time), then I can’t let myself fall asleep. It mainly has to do with my fear of missing my stop. If I’m asleep, then how do I know when to wake up at the correct stop? The operators mumbling the names of the stations over the loudspeaker wouldn’t be enough to wake me up. Even if I am awake, I can barely discern what is being said over the loudspeaker. Normally, I rely on looking out of the window to see the station name at each stop to know where I am. And if I’m semi-unconscious, then how would I be able to see my station name? I’d probably wake up frightened and confused, in the place where they keep the trains overnight when they aren’t running, desperately looking for the camera telling me I’m on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

On Monday night, there was this one guy that was dead to the world. I actually couldn’t tell if he was dead or sleeping. He was sprawled out over the seat, head tilted back and leaning against the window. Mouth agape and eyes shut and completely still, I wasn’t sure if I should let him be or check his pulse. Everyone else on the crowded train seemed to not be bothered by this gentleman. And being the kind of guy I am, I went with the flow. He must be alive. Otherwise someone would have moved him. If anything, at least to take his seat.

So I turned back around to avoid staring at him my entire train ride. Once I arrived at my destination, I looked back to see if this guy was still there, and behold, he wasn’t! The coroner must have arrived and taken his body away to the morgue to determine his cause of death while I wasn’t looking. While performing the autopsy, the examiner would ask, “Why didn’t anyone help this man?” Newspaper articles would spring up and news exposés would haunt the television. “I wasn’t on that train,” one interviewee would respond. “But if I was, I would have done something.” The Metro would get stigmatized as being unsafe and Metro riders would be blamed for being negligent and apathetic. Tourists would quit using the system on the weekends to avoid being “killed and left for dead while others idly kept to their Blackberrys,” as one tabloid would state.

I’m obviously just exaggerating. The guy probably just woke up at his stop and got off the train while I wasn’t looking. But how did he know when to wake up and get off? Did he have some kind of mechanism in his brain counting the stops? Were his dreams littered with occasional announcements? In between fantasy touchdown catches and unimaginable sexcapades, he would hear the occasional “Clarendon, Virginia Square, Ballston”. As he would be addressing the United States during his fantasy presidential inauguration, he would hear “East Falls Church,” apologize to his crowd, open his eyes and step off the train.

Perhaps he wasn’t asleep at all. Maybe his posture and stillness was just a ploy to keep the seat to himself when the train got crowded. I’ll have to try that next time.


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Written by Eric Spiegel

September 22, 2006 at 8:16 am

Metro Observation #3

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While riding the metro the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a number of unspoken rules that most of the regular riders follow. And when a n00b is breaking these rules, the regulars get quite pushy. I’ve probably broken these rules before when I first started riding the metro, so I apologize to anyone who I’ve upset in the course of their daily rush to get to work or wherever.

One of the rules I’ve noticed is that when you are on an escalator leading to or from a platform, if you wish to not walk up the escalator (i.e. ride it like it was designed) then you need to stay on the right side. That way the left side is left free for the rushers to speedwalk up (or down) the escalator to get to their destination. You mostly notice this rule happening during the weekdays, when most of the tourists aren’t around. But during the weekend you will notice people blatently ignoring this rule.

Now, if during the weekend a person is blocking the left side of the escalator because they don’t know better, I don’t give a crap. Its the weekend, no one should be needing to rush anywhere. But I’ve seen people fuss at others just over this. Who cares? If its during the rush, then most people are observant enough to know to stand on the right side, but on the weekends there are considerably less people riding so there isn’t enough rush to warrant a need for this rule. I just don’t understand how someone can get pissy about the fact that people that don’t live in this area aren’t magically aware of the unspoken ettiquite about riding the metro. Get over it and enjoy the fact that it is the weekend!

This is actually the only unspoken rule I can think of at this moment. So I guess I lied earlier. If I think of another one, then I’ll post about it later.


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Written by Eric Spiegel

September 19, 2006 at 2:46 pm

DC Pics

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Me, Cheri, and Mom riding the train

Originally uploaded by fallenposters.

Some new pictures of my parent’s visit this past weekend are up on my flickr. You can check them out here if you so incline.

Written by Eric Spiegel

September 5, 2006 at 5:56 pm

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Metro Observation #2

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On the way to Foggy Bottom today, a raggedly dressed man got on our train car. He was older, a bit disheveled. I didn’t think too much about him. I assumed he probably was one of these people that ride around the Metro all day. Much like some of the townies in Blacksburg rode the transit buses all day long.

But then on a later stop, another older, disheveled man boarded our car and asked disheveled man #1 for some change (I believe for the exit fare). Now I probably wouldn’t even be writing about these men if it weren’t for when #1 reached into his pocket to get some money for #2. He pulled out a dark object and at first I thought it was a wallet or a change purse. But no, it was a sock. And in his sock was this man’s money.

Now I’ve seen people carry around money in their sock if they are wearing clothes that don’t have any pockets (such as gym shorts or thongs). But this guy pulled out a long black tube sock out of his pocket. He wasn’t even wearing it. He was carrying it.

This just seemed to bother me for some odd reason. Why doesn’t he just use his pocket? Does it have holes in it? Does he not trust his pockets? It’s a mystery to me.

I wanted to ask him why he kept his money in a sock. Was he worried about people stealing his wallet and not assume people would take a sock? I wanted to interview him about his sorting technique. Did he just use it for coins? Or did he throw in both bills and coins? And did he exclusively use it for money? Or just an all around catch-all? Perhaps he kept it filled with coins to use it as both a container and possible weapon to defend himself with.

I wanted answers to my questions, but I never got them. Seriously, who wants to chat it up with the creepy looking guy on the Metro? Not me. I’ll let my imagination figure out the answers.


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Written by Eric Spiegel

September 3, 2006 at 9:12 pm

Metro Observation #1

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This here is a first of (what I assume will be) many posts about things that I observe while riding the Metro on my way to work. My commute to Arlington will be managed best by taking the Metro, so I’m sure I won’t be short on material much.metrorail.jpg

Vienna Metro Station and the Orange Line

The Metro has each rail line named by color (red, green, orange, yellow, blue). Each line has a beginning and an end. Once a train has reached the end of the line, guess what it does. It goes back in the opposite direction (really!). I don’t think very many people are aware of this concept. More likely, its probably the tourists that don’t get it, but come on, it isn’t that hard to figure out. I mean, where else is it going to go? It isn’t going to fly back to where it started.

Example: I got on the Orange Line at the Vienna Metro Station today to go and turn in some paperwork for my new job. The Orange Line starts (and ends) at this station. So naturally, it doesn’t matter what train you get on since they are all going in the same direction. A group of tourists got on the train after I did and they could not stop talking about how they weren’t sure if they were on the right train.

“Is this the orange?”

“Are we on the right train?”

“I can’t tell if we’re on the right train.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re on the right train. There is only one train, on one line, going in one direction! I could understand the confusion if you were at a station that services multiple lines, but come on. Did the LED sign on the outside of the train not make it obvious enough that this was the Orange Line? I mean, it says (in English!) “Orange”–with an orange-colored circle next to it nonetheless.

I guess I just feel strongly about this because when I am going somewhere I’m not familiar with, I make sure to figure out how to get there. And if getting there requires a transportation system other than my car, than I’ll make sure to learn how to use said system before I have to actually use it. I go online, read about the Metro, learn which stations I need to get on at and get off at, how much it costs, how to pay, etc.

I don’t know whether to catagorize people like this as either lazy or stupid. Maybe both.


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Written by Eric Spiegel

August 17, 2006 at 8:15 pm

Posted in grab bag

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