I am working on a bigger, more far reaching piece about the metro called "Rules for Riding the Metro," so I haven't wanted to cover the subject too thoroughly here. However, this must be said/written.
Every metro ride begins and ends the exact same way - unless you die in between, which may be a happier option for some of you. Each time you choose to ride the metro you have to place your metro card in the slot or swipe your SmarTrip card across the illuminated boob to enter or leave. It's as sure as death and taxes that you'll be required to swipe in and swipe out of the metro system.
So why are half of you so unprepared to enter or leave the metro system every day?
You've seen it as often as I have - some idiot standing right in front of the turnstiles (they aren't really turnstiles, but calling them two halves of a Japanese fan isn't any better) trying to figure where they put the only object they need to enter the metro system. Or they're the person who gets off of the train, heads up the escalators and realizes about a step away from the turnstiles that they don't have the proper equipment to initiate an exit from a transportation system designed to be idiot proof.
The interesting thing here is that unprepared people on the metro tend to break along gender lines. Women are specifically unprepared one way and men in another way. Here's how it shakes out.
Most of the time it's a case of the George Costanza Wallet Syndrome. Well, that and the stubbornness and laziness only a man can maintain (am I right ladies?). You see, men want to put their SmarTrip card in their wallet and have it never leave. This means they walk up to the turnstile, pull out their wallet and then repeatedly press their overstuffed wallet against the illuminated boob until they are forced to remove the card from the wallet and swipe it to get the Japanese fans to withdraw. Having learned nothing from their experience entering the metro system, they will pull the wallet trick again when they go to exit. The result will be the same - the removal of the SmarTrip card will be necessary to disengage the Japanese fans. Do you think this asshole will learn his lesson? Nope, because he's an asshole and assholes never learn. If you're really unlucky you're either dating or married to this asshole and are nodding your head in agreement at this very moment.
The worst part about this guy is that when he leaves work to go home he'll repeat the same insane process and be completely stumped at the outcome again as if it never happened that morning or twice a day for the previous three years.
These guys are easy to spot at work - they're of the Assrubbing Clan. You know, the guys who rub their ass against the card reader by the door at your office because they don't want to pull their security card out of their wallet, or their wallet out of their pants. You catch them doing the booty dance a couple times a day trying to get in your office. At first it's funny, but then it's just gross once your realize there are only millimeters of cloth separating their sewage outlet and the card reader you're forced to use to several times a day.
You can't really reason with these guys because of the aforementioned stubbornness. They have no idea that the thickness of their wallet is prohibiting them from being able to enter or exit the metro. It's likely that one time in the distant past they were able to make the Japanese fans retreat by swiping their wallet across the illuminated boob. They are convinced that the 5,000 straight wallet to illuminated boob failures are the fluke and that the single success so many years ago is the norm. This guy will be f*cking up your commute until he retires, so you better get good at spotting him and learn to avoid him.
For women it's a much different issue. It's an issue of taking the most important objects they need for immediate use and stashing them so far out of reach, they become lost. Any men who are married or otherwise burdened with the constant company of the fairer sex know this truth.
In my opinion, women just lose shit because it frustrates men and that secretly makes them happy. Remind me one day to tell all of you about my theory on cell phones, driving and women - it's fascinating and offensive.
Each morning you'll find the same women stopped inches away from the turnstiles performing a full self body cavity search for their SmarTripcard. You can hear them murmuring "I just had it." Minutes go by and they eventually find it in their shoe, or hair... or their hand or some other place nobody can explain how or why it got there. Of course, their trip wouldn't be complete if they didn't pull the same shenanigans minutes later when they are set to leave the metro system.
Where do they put their SmarTrip card? I don't know. If I did, I'd try to help, but with women you never know. They carry so much shit it could be anywhere. Depending on what style is currently "in" they may not have pockets to put it in, so that means it's either stuffed somewhere deep in the annals of their purse (God forbid) or tucked into the side of those ridiculous riding boots they're all wearing right now (when did the footwear of frumpy lesbian equestrians become cool and why?).
Again, the best thing you can do with these women is to identify them early and avoid them whenever possible because I don't think there's any way to help these people.
Hints and Tips
Here's what these people (you) can do to avoid wreaking havoc on everyone's commute.
Have a plan. Think about what you are going to do and how you might be prepared to do it. Put your SmarTrip card in the same special place every day. Make sure that place isn't your wallet, guys. Or the bottom of your purse, ladies.
Put the card in your hand when you first see an escalator. Keep that card in your hand your entire ride. Stare it at if necessary to make sure you remember what it's for. Once you exit the metro system place your card in that special place we talked about before. Rinse and repeat.
Now, if you can't get that done you're just going to have to join the ranks of the people who are so inept at keeping track of the shit in their life that they are forced to wear their important documents around their neck. Stupid people and tourists are easily identified by the packet of important information dangling from their necks. They have been pre-qualified as too dumb to take care of themselves and issued a dummy kit so we can easily help them when we come across them in public. Sorry if this offends you, but not all realities in life are sunshine, dolphins and labradoodles.
This system was invented by the airline industry so that young children traveling alone could be helped through system on their way to their final destination. If you're going to act like a child, we're going to treat you like one.
Do note that hundreds of commuters on the metro system and most Hill staffers have surrendered to their inability to keep track of their shit and now proudly wear a dummy kit around their necks on a daily basis. It contains all of the important things they may need to travel within our public transit system and helps them navigate their way to work efficiently. God bless them for recognizing their deficiencies and attempting to rectify them for the greater good. However, people wearing these necklaces of necessities are generally socially awkward and are to be avoided at all costs lest they try to engage you in conversation and break the rule of dead silence on the metro (more on that in my rules for the metro). Just be careful.
Bottom line - get your shit together. This is big league public transportation, not some kind of semi-professional league like the bus system - act like you've been here before.