If you hear anyone say “oh my lanta!” while wearing a tye-dye shirt and baseball cap, they’re probably an American tourist. They come in singles, couples, and full families. These people, who love wearing comfortable walking shoes, pardon themselves before asking staffers in suits for directions and the best restaurants near the White House. They nervously stare at the map, waiting for stops. When they’ve arrived at their destinations, they jump up, trying not to poke you with their selfie sticks. At least they thank everyone who’s helped them on their metro journeys!
Tourists come from around the globe to explore our nation’s capital. They’re easy to spot as soon as they talk about plans in other languages or if they tote exclusive backpacks and fanny packs. These metro riders tend to be dressed more stylishly than the American tourists (European Zara has a much better selection than American Zara). They also ask people on their way to work for directions, but with a lot of hand motions because of speech barriers. Thankfully, most of us D.C. dwellers have played Charades once or twice.
These passengers seem to be talking to themselves, but really they’re deciding which words to try in their Washington Post crossword puzzles. They tap their pencils counting letters and are often so focused, they miss their stops. These metro types tend to take up a lot of room while flipping to the next Sudoku puzzle. Occasionally they’ll come across an interesting article and wrap their arms around a metro pole to have both sides of the newspaper spread out. Nice to see some people still read the good ole fashioned print paper.
The techies usually have their laptops and gadgets out on the train because they can’t wait until work. They often wear headsets even though the metro is underground and their bluetooths won’t connect down there. These are your typical IT employees or straight up computer nerds who enjoy slipping in tech email puns throughout the day such as “could I have a byte of your cookie?”
These college students look a little worn down after a day on the Hill, but they’re definitely not too tired for happy hour, which they’ll make clear on the metro. Even in packed cars, they’ll loudly decide whether to hit up Foggy Bottom, DuPont, or AdMo. Georgetown is too inconvenient even though they’re staying in GW dorms for the summer. If they’re working at the Capitol, it’s easy to tell which states their congressmen or congresswomen are from by the accents or seersucker suits.
Capitol Hill Staffers
These work-a-holics are giving their interns side eye to and from the office, remembering when they were that excited about living in D.C. for the summer. They’re burnt out from too much work and can’t wait to get home and read about something other than politics. Their phones are still on loud at the end of the day because they know something will come up that they’ll have to be alert for. They all need a glass of wine. Badly.
“Excuse me, coming through!” they yell while the metro doors start to close on large metal two-wheelers. Yep, you guessed it, bikers on the metro. The crowds must squish together even closer to let these exercise junkies on. Every time they whip their helmet-clad heads, others have to dodge. Do they really need full shiny race outfits on their way home from work? Another question is, if they have bikes, why do they need the metro for transportation? We’ll never know.
Parents with Strollers
Apologetic mothers and fathers receive more help from metro riders than bikers. Passengers happily offer assistance, getting the stroller over the track gap and pushing it near the walls. After the thank yous, all kinds of travellers make faces at the chubby babies, while the parents pretend to find it endearing. He or she probably doesn’t feel like engaging with the hundredth person playing peek-a-boo with their child.