Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Merging on the Escalators

I didn't think it was possible. The rules are simple. Sometimes people get confused but Washingtonians are often quick to point out the proper etiquette. Yes, I am talking about appropriate behavior on the escalators.

For those of you not from DC (or really who are that inept that you can't follow a pattern), when on DC escalators if you are standing, you stand on the right (DO NOT try and put your bag beside you if you are on the way to airport. Chances are an angry, hot, frustrated Washingtonian fed up with tourists standing when they should be moving will be tempted to take your bag and hurl it down the escalator.) Just don't do it. Some of us are trying to get to work, or happy hour, even air conditioning. It is hot here and we have places to be.

Yes the trains are cool. Yes the doors close automatically (and BTW they are not elevator doors. Every time you pry them open, the chances of them off-loading the train, me getting more sweaty, causing train delays for thousands of people trying to get to air conditioning, and then having to be packed on an even more crowded train increases. If you attempt this, there is a chance the Washingtonians on the train will rebel. Don't tempt us.).

OK, back to my point (sorry it is heavy tourist season and we're all complaining about tourists, just keep in mind that I'm trying to help). When riding the escalators, it is convention to stand on the right and walk on the left.  Just think about what you do when you drive.  It is the same thing. This morning, I was walking on the left in a long line of people.  We were cruising down the Dupont escalators.  It is a flow, we were all in step.  This this older man (over 60) stepped out in front of me. I slammed on the brakes.  The guy behind me ran into me and so forth.  It would have been hilarious (if it didn't slightly hurt).  It was a classic domino effect.  Thankfully (because I do have a tendency to fall), I always keep my hand on the escalator and I grabbed on so that I wouldn't tumble down the stairs (and so forth). 

I was annoyed but I survived.  There was nothing I could do at this point except take baby step after baby step down the stairs.  He was the slowest walker ever.  I admire him for wanting to walk down the stairs, but not at rush hour and not cutting off a line of younger people who are almost running down the stairs.  It isn't nice. It isn't safe. And to top it off, I was the one getting the dirty looks. Boo.

The rules for merging into the passing lane on the escalator are simple.
  1. If there are people coming, wait for them to pass.
  2. If you are walking slowly in the passing lane, you must move over to the right to allow others to pass.
  3. Don't slow down the speed of traffic. If you do, then Washingtonians have full rights to yell at you.
If you follow these simple rules (and remember to stand on the proper side of the escalator) both your experience and the experience of all Washingtonians will be drastically increase.  Please do your part. 


Jean said...

Bonjour from la France,

I really like you and your blog, it me makes happy! :):):) Me, I also hate escalotors :(. They are so polluting and annoying.

Me I cannot wait for this next blog!!!! :) ;)

Jean Claude

Amy O'Connor said...

Jean Claude - I am glad I can keep you entertained from this side of the pond.