25 April 2009

In a Manner of Speaking

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.
~ Emily Post

utting down on as much carbon emissions and gasoline usage as possible by taking public transportation as often as you can is something I advocate but had not until recently been able to do. Happily, a recent job change enabled me to leave my car at home and take the metro every day. I discovered that in addition to saving me time, gas and money, the switch also: 1) provides me with some much needed “think” time in the morning and evening; 2) greatly reduced my road rage; 3) potentially saves lives and limbs as I no longer wonder what happened in between leaving work and getting home, so engrossed in my thoughts I usually am; and 4) enables me to people watch. And let me tell you, colour matters! ;-)

Don't believe me? Take a ride on the Orange Line during rush hour ~ either in the morning or in the evening. Then take a ride on the Blue Line the next day at the same times. I have been doing this for five weeks straight now and I have noticed a marked difference between the manners of Orange Line riders and Blue Line riders. If you are so unfortunate as to be stuck on the Orange Line, make sure you get up and wiggle your way to the door AT LEAST two to three stops before you need to get off. Noone moves out of the way for passengers getting off at a stop on the Orange Line. And if you dare to clear your throat, or murmur a polite “Excuse me”, you get everything from out right glares to blank looks. But no movement.

My road rage may be gone but not my exasperation with stupidity and down right rudeness.

Riders on the Blue Line, however, are much more accommodating; some will even step off the train to let others off, before getting back on themselves. And I have observed this when riding in either direction ~ into the city or out of it. Now, grant you, the Orange Line does have more passengers on it, generally speaking. But that does not explain the attitudes of the people. Blue Line riders are just as tired after a long day, but they still smile and move out of the way. Even when they are packed in tightly during rush hour.

And as long as we are keeping score on rider manners, Blue Line riders are three times more likely to give up their seats for someone older or disabled. I have witnessed this myself. I have yet to see it happen on the Orange Line. But I will allow that I am not on the Orange Line all the time. In fact, I tend to wait an extra four minutes just to ride the more mannerly Blue Line.

So to all your Orange Line riders out there: take a moment and kindly let your fellow passengers through to their stop.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

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