Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No Stroller Left Behind

One of my favorite Metro announcements is the one that goes, “Train doors are not like elevator doors.” Usually, I wonder if it’s some sort of riddle, and from there I’m figuring out how a raven is like a writing desk. The vagaries of my brain can really make a commute fly by.

Of course, what they’re really saying is, “Hey! Dumbass! When the doors are closing, don’t jam your briefcase in there! The doors won’t spring back open!” People being people, and stupidity being tragically intractable, folks routinely jam their briefcases, purses, arms and legs into the closing doors. Usually, the train operator re-opens the doors and the offender bullies his way onboard. Less often, the doors surround a backpack in a loving embrace and the train lurches out of the station, leaving behind a confused and angry passenger on the platform.

This sort of thing bugs me to no end. Jamming the doors is rude. It delays the hundreds of people already on the train, all of whom are just trying to get to their pathetic little cubicle jobs. It damages the train doors, leading to further delays (…so thousands of people can’t get home from their pathetic little cubicle jobs). And it’s ridiculously pointless. Another train will be along in a minute or two.

But I’ll live. Part of living in a city is learning how to deal with people. Even the dimmest bulbs on God’s own Christmas tree deserve a little bit of my love. But some people create the sort of situation that makes me wish I carried a baseball bat and kept Child Services on speed dial. This morning, at L’Enfant Plaza, a woman ignored the “Doors Closing” chime, and decided to jam open the doors.

With a stroller. A stroller containing a small child. People, I am not making this up.

This woman used her baby as a doorstop. Now, I am all for finding useful tasks for children. My own (imaginary) children will have their names licensed to major corporations, and work in a Nike factory by age five. But endangering your kid so you can get somewhere two minutes faster is just...I don't know. I lack the words for it.

The doors began squashing the stroller, and everyone on the train gasped. Luckily, the Metro operator saw the situation and popped the doors back open, and nearby passengers were able to drag the stroller onboard. I spent the rest of the ride wondering if I should tell that woman off or not. She was pretty far away, so I couldn’t see her reaction to the drama. Was she relieved? Ashamed? Or was she stupid enough to be glad she got on the train, her child’s safety be damned?

What would you have done?

39 comments:

Michael said...

I did jam a briefcase into the door of an evening rush hour Red Line train at Judiciary Square not long ago. And I hate people who do that; it's stupid and rude. Know my shame. If you were on board, accept my apology.

/s/Red-Faced Idiot With Master's Degree

Zipcode said...

I would have arrested her ass for child endangerment! That pisses me off -

Shannon said...

Michael - better a briefcase than a baby!

Zip - I wish you'd been along to arrest her. What an idiot.

I wanted to tell her off, but would have had to elbow my way across the train to do so. From where I was sitting, I couldn't tell if she was upset or not (if she was, it wouldn't have been right to pile on).

Zipcode said...

I think its moments like that citizens arrest are appropriate - I would have told the metro driver guy to have Metro Transit Police meet her at the next stop -

I would have totally gone off on her - I hate irresponsible parents.

Shannon said...

Zip - thanks. What I couldn't tell was whether she was local or not. I routinely see tourons jam Metro doors with strollers. Which is stupid, but if they're from out of town it's sort of understandable. But if you're local, there is just no excuse.

Lemmonex said...

Oh dear me. Did anyone else say something?

I would have glared. It really would have shown her. If she is crazy enough to use her baby as a doorstop, she would probably cut me. I try to keep it to one fight a week...

Shannon said...

Lemmonex - She boarded and then moved further into the train, so I couldn't tell if anyone had told her off or not. She did get a lot of nasty looks, however.

maryjanejeff said...

She needs to be nominated for a Darwin award, with her being the one caught in a train. Or just shot. As long as the child is unharmed. I shouldn't be shocked by this considering where we are, but I was. Even for Washington that was a jolt of doucheness taken to a new level.

Can people report it to Metro police just the same?

HP said...

i actually saw the same thing happen the same thing happen a few weeks ago.appalling and scary.

Jon said...

I think your "baseball bat and Child Services" solution is pretty appropriate.

zandria said...

If she would do something like that to begin with, I'd wager money to say she wasn't the least bit embarrassed/ashamed.

Shannon said...

MJJ - Personally, I wanted to drag the stroller in and have the doors swing shut. I would have been happy to take that baby - she was a sweetie.

HP - yeah, it's freaky. I see this a few times a month, and never know what to do.

Jon - If you see a lady on the Metro with a baseball bat, introduce yourself. She's probably me.

Zandria - I agree. Which is sad.

[F]oxymoron said...

Yesterday at Farragut North I saw a woman with her foot stuck in the door… for at least a minute. She was very vocal. But this is [F]’ing ridiculous.

Somebody should have begun a rousing chant… “Birth Control! Birth Control! Birth Control!” over an awesome Go-go beat.

Zipcode said...

naryjanejeff - yes but you are going to get quicker response from the transit police and that is their jurisdiction - if you take the metro a lot I recommend at their non emergency number programmed in their phone

Zipcode said...

Here is the number: 202/962-2121

LivitLuvit said...

I swear there should be a test you have to take in order to bring a child into this world. In school we read about how NC used to sterilize women who were on welfare in return for paying for their second or third delivery... the class was appalled... I was all, BRING IT BACK

Shannon said...

Foxy - Aw, but then we wouldn't have that adorable baby!

Zipcode - Thanks! I think all of us should program that into our phones.

LivitLuvit - A competency exam for parenthood? I'm sure the woman didn't intend for her child to be harmed, but it was appalling all the same.

Zipcode said...

This should be in the Express tommorow - this something all metro riders need to read

HEY EXPRESS COUGH COUGH - use this blog!

Michael said...

My sweet Lemmonex is a street fighter; she woulda clocked the woman. But ever so gently. (My whole body gets all sweaty just thinking about it!) :)

Shannon said...

Zip - I was just in the Express last week, but as I'm a total attention ho...QUOTE ME!

Michael - Do we need to leave the room?

lacochran said...

That was an incredibly stupid move. But, I have to admit, sometimes reflexes override intellect. I can't tell you the number of times I've reached to grab the blade of a falling knife.

Oh, and you made me look up the raven and the writing desk thing. So, um, thanks, I guess.

Andandand, this is brilliant:
"Even the dimmest bulbs on God’s own Christmas tree deserve a little bit of my love."
Is that true of the ones that are cracked and have a short? :)

Tina said...

Shannon-

I would have gone to jail. Because my evil twin would have elbowed her way over to the woman and told her what a wombat of a parent she was. Being the sort of ass that would use her kid as a door stop - she would have taken a swing and - well - after my evil twin kicked her ass up and down the train - zipcode and I would have been getting some quality time together while I got booked.

Seriously - I almost got my ass kicked in the parking lot of Sheetz the other day when I told off some redneck woman for driving around with her infant laying there loose on the front seat. (Redneck women are actually more dangerous than your average metro rider)

Fortunately my husband was with me and he DOES have several members of the local police on speed dial (relatives can be useful when properly employed). So officer "cousin in law" showed up and saved my ass then took the moron into custody.

Shannon said...

Lacochran: Soooo, how is a raven like a writing-desk?

And the cracked bulbs get a heaping helping of love, like the mentally ill homeless guy I encountered last week. He took one look at me and burst into laughter. I said, "What? Is it my outfit?" He nodded, kept laughing and walked off.

Ouch.

Shannon said...

Tina - Ooooh, boy. Right now I'm picturing you and Zipcode teaming up, donning Lycra superhero costumes and fighting crime together.

Zipcode said...

lol did a threadskank occur with the Michael/Lemmonex love thing lol

I call the Batgirl costume!

Shannon said...

Indeed, Michael is today's Threadskanker.

Zip, I figured you would get Batgirl and Tina would wear the Supergirl getup.

restaurantrefugee said...

In as much as I would never hit a woman, I would have called Lemmonex to administer the beatdown.

Tina said...

Supergirl? - Isn't there something more dominatrix that I could get? you know - like the vixens in most video games?

Supergirl is just way to wholesome for my evil twin

Shannon said...

Refugee - I bet Lemmonex would be in on that.

Tina - I forgot to mention - the Supergirl outfit is made entirely of black leather. Even the cape.

Ibid said...

Dibs on being Alfred!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I like to shove old people in between the doors.

At first, there is guilt. Then, some pain. But then there is laughter. Ha ha ha! We laughed so hard...

Ahh, summer nights in DC....

maryjanejeff said...

thanks zipcode - I will put that in my cell phone - never know when I may need it

brandonsavage said...

I just think that might have turned out worse if the train operator had taken off...if they're running the train on manual it doesn't warn them that the doors aren't closed...

But then, I'm usually buried in my book on the Metro so chances are I wouldn't have seen it. Good thing, too...if I did I woulda kicked her ass.

Ryane said...

What a pathetic excuse for a parent. The tragedy here really is that, regardless of what anyone could have said to that fool for so heinously endangering her spawn's life, she probably a. would not have cared (or understood) and b. will most defintely do something equally as, or more, stupid very soon.

I love [f]oxymoron's suggestions: everyone chanting 'Birth Control'
Really. Some folks should just not piss in the gene pool.

Shannon said...

Anon - well, I guess that's better than sending them out on an iceberg.

MJJ - Indeed. I don't get reception in the Metro, but it's a handy number to have...I could always ask a fellow passenger to call police.

Brandon - Since the other passengers dragged the stroller in, I imagine we would have just left without the mom.

Ryane - Indeed. I came close to just scooping up that baby and keeping her - she was cute! Sure, it would be hard to be a single mom in the city, in a studio apartment, raising a child I had snatched up on the subway...but, at least, it would be a great setup for a sitcom.

Shannon said...

And Ibid - Sure, you can be Alfred. I bet Tina and Zipcode could use a butler.

Ibid said...

They're gonna need some help squeezing in and out of those outfits. And maybe a massage after a hard night of fighting crime or just working out. And they'll be slinking around the cave in those outfits.

Much better than working for IronChick. Not nearly as hot in costume and she'd always want me to clean out the inside of the suit after she gets drunk and pukes.

lacochran's evil twin said...

"Lacochran: Soooo, how is a raven like a writing-desk?"

They both make a mess in the blender?

Shannon said...

Sooo....Zipcode, Tina, if Ibid approaches you with some olive oil and a shoehorn, he's just trying to help you get dressed!

LaTwin, amazing. You solved the riddle that Alice couldn't!