Posted by: hjelen87 | August 21, 2012

12 Things I’ve Been Able to Practice While Riding the Metro

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Let’s face it: Metro drives us all crazy most of the time.  But in a spirit of looking on the bright side, I’m going to focus on things that I’ve been able to practice in the copious amount of time I spend on the Metro every day.

1. Good balance. At 5’2”, I’m not really able to reach the top bars on the Metro trains.  And heels are clearly a bad idea (see #9). So in those times when I’m shuffled to a place where there is not a bar within reach of me, I’m forced to “Metro surf,” which really helps me perfect my balance.

2. Patience!  This pretty much goes without explaining, but Metro has a tendency to make you wait…for the bus, for the train, for the train to start moving again when it has stopped, for the construction to be done (it’ll never happen).  All this waiting has given me a chance to develop a ton of patience.

3. Avoiding eye contact with strangers who are right in my sight line.  I am always amazed at how so many people can be packed into such a small space, and nobody is looking at anyone else (but see #4).  You would think I would have completely memorized the Metro map because of how many times I’ve intently studied it, just to avoid looking at any person standing or sitting around me.

4. People watching without getting caught.  There are lots of crazy characters on the Metro, so sometimes it’s hard to help looking at some of them.  You just have to know how to do it without them noticing.  Sunglasses are helpful for this.

5. Taking up as little space as possible.  I’m a pretty small person to begin with, but when riding in a packed Metro car, I still always feel like I’m in everybody’s way.  I’ve been practicing blending into the glass separator things.

6. Keeping a steady hand on a moving train.  I spend a lot of time on the Metro, and in law school, time is of the essence.  So doing some reading on the train is sometimes necessary.  But of course, in law school you can’t just read the book, you have to highlight.  After some very squiggly lines early on, I’ve gotten pretty good at highlighting a straight line while the train is moving.  The same goes for doing crossword puzzles.

7. Being courteous to people even when they are driving me crazy.  You have no idea how many times I have wanted to shove tourists out of the way for standing on the left side of the escalator.  But in my effort to show Christ’s love to everyone I encounter, I have had plenty of practice resisting the urge to be rude to people, even when I think they are being rude to me.

8. My Spanish. I personally love the incredible linguistic diversity I encounter on the Metro every day.  And while some may call it eavesdropping, I find that trying to see how much of someone’s conversation I can understand in Spanish is great practice.

9. Always remembering to bring flats.  I love heels.  But I once wore a really tall pair of them on the Metro and had to stand on my way to school, and I learned my lesson.  My legs were honestly more sore the next day than after a track workout.  So now I will always remember to bring a pair of flats for my travels.

10. Overcoming my claustrophobia.  Getting stuck in a tunnel in an enclosed train is a great time to practice not hyperventilating.  Bonus points if the AC isn’t working in the car.

11. Being comfortable having no personal space.  Touching other people is inevitable during rush hour, so you just have to get used to it.

12. Catching up on sleep at random times, while not missing my stop.  Yep, I’m one of those people who sleep on the Metro on a semi-regular basis.  There’s just something about the way the train rocks back and forth that can lull a sleep-deprived law student into dreamland.  For me, the trick to not missing my stop is not allowing myself to sleep on the train when I’m really tired, because then I know I probably wouldn’t wake up for my stop.  I have yet to sleep through my stop, so it’s worked so far!

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Responses

  1. Way to look on the bright side, Heather! I like your perspective!


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