Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some more laws of metro travel

Any destination is 30 minutes away.

-It is never faster to take the ring line.

-If it’s anytime before midnight and there’s a free bench, don’t go near it. I could list the possibilities why the entire bench would be free, but I’d rather leave it to your imaginations.

-“Please be courteous and give your seats up to retired people, old people, individuals with children, and pregnant women” is just the beginning. Next comes a period (usually half the distance to the next station) of convincing the old hobbled woman who almost fell over when the train started moving that you really do want to give her your seat and that you will be quite insulted if she refuses.

-The crowd in morning rush hour is very much more evil than the crowd going home.
I’m not entirely sure what causes that last one – lack of caffeine, the prospect of the long work day, needing to get to work on time. The list goes on. I just know it’s true.

Sometimes I forget it, and rush to get to the library right when it opens at 9 (usually I try to leave home by 9:45, which means I’m catching the tail end of rush hour, which is not bad at all). On these days I leave the ‘tro, as…I, alone…call the metro…with a bum leg and bruises from my hamstrings up to my sternum. The most vicious are, not surprising to me but possibly to some of you, Dear Readers, those same old ladies who refuse to let one give up a seat. They have places they need to be, and rather than try to rush fast enough that I’m not slowing them up, I try to keep to one side, let them go past, and then continue on my way. Alls I’m saying is it’s not by chance that in Bibliotekar’ the zombie-grandmothers are super-strong. It’s how they are to begin.

On an unfortunate day when I had to take the ring line during morning rush hour (which means if I had left home at 9:45 and taken the radial lines to the center and switched lines there, I could probably have gotten to my destination quicker), I was in the sardine-press – which is something I’ve gotten used to. Then one of said old ladies materialized near me, and twisted her body a quarter turn, and her hand cupped a whole lot of Andrew.

Something I’m not so used to. I tried hard not to start laughing, as Smekh bez prichiny – priznak durachiny [Laughing without cause is a sign of idiocy], but it took her almost all the way to the next stop to realize just what she was touching and shift again. Or, perhaps equally plausible – she had earlier realized, but like me, was so packed in she couldn’t move until then.

Second base? She didn’t even ask my name.

ROD (A sample dialogue that might have been)

Zdravstvujte. –Hello.
Kak vas zovut? - What is your name?
Nadezhda Vsevolodovna, ochen’ priatno. - How nice to meet you, Nadezhda Vsevolodovna.
Izvinite za bespokojstvo, Nadezhda Vsevolodovna, a vy ne cmogli by perestat’ menia trogat’? - Excuse me for this interruption, Nadezhda Vsevolodovna, but you couldn’t possibly stop manhandling me, could you?
Spasibo. Thanks.


Sasha said...

Extra Rule 1: If you are an old lady (with bottle blond hair, a leather jacket, at least 3 plastic bags, and an ample frame) you can sit wherever you like. Especially if other old ladies are already sitting there.

Yes. You can sit on them. Seen today, by you and me.

Andrew said...

Corollary: Only if you'll be on the train for a maximum of one stop. (The period of time to maneuver yourself into and back out of the seat must exceed the amount of time actually sitting.)

Justin said...

Most action you've had all week?

Patrick said...

"Then one of said old ladies materialized near me, and twisted her body a quarter turn, and her hand cupped a whole lot of Andrew."

I actually loled.

P.S. these word verifications are getting ridiculous: today's is ghthinin

Andrew said...

Patrick: Sorry about the word verifications. I wish I had control over them. I'd make you write things like "xsdfahio" -- or, like the Eurotrash faux-designer jacket I saw in the metro the other day, "Dulca & Gabbarna." Makes me laugh.

ROD, by the way, is "Russian of Day." So quickly the people forget.

Shelley said...

To quote Willie: She "got a handful of nads..."

PS: I'm really glad you said "Alls I'm saying..."