Friday, December 08, 2006

Yep. I Was "That" Guy On the Metro

It was only a matter of time before my comments about obnoxious and offensive Metro riders would come back to haunt me. Granted, I haven't developed escalaphobia, nor did I break out in song. But I did contribute to metrogerms. Despite that, however, I can honestly say, I tried everything in my power to limit my offensiveness.

Those of you who read this blog daily know that last week I had a really bad cold. So, being a good citizen, I stayed away from the Metro while I was contagious, and thus was home from work for a better part of the week. I don't like showing up to work or riding the Metro all sniffly and gross. However, despite my recovery, my body hasn't been able to shake a very persistent and annoying cough. You all know what I'm talking about. It's one of those tickling, dry coughs that seems to last for weeks after recovery from the initial cold. And every once in a while, as you are suffering from this postnasal drip-like cough, you go into an uncontrollable coughing fit.

Until this morning, such fits have been limited to the privacy of my office and home - where only my coworkers and wife have to be grossed out. Fine, I can deal with that. But today, despite all of my fears and precautions (plenty of cough syrup and medicine), I entered into what can only be described as a disgusting coughing fit just a few minutes after sitting down and becoming boxed in on the Metro.

If you're one of the people asking yourself, "So what?", then you obviously haven't ridden the Metro here in DC. There are certain rules that must be followed. One of those rules is the code of absolute silence. Heaven forbid your phone should ring, or that you should have someone sitting next to you worthy of conversation. You open your mouth, you're gonna get evil eyes and cold shoulders. It's a well known fact that during rush hour, only weirdos and obnoxious tourists are the ones jabbering on the Metro. So given that setting, you can imagine how annoying it must be to hear someone cough not once, but about 30 times in a row.

I tried my hardest, I really did! The tickling in my throat just became too intense to ignore, and I let out a cough. But as most of you know, that only sets off a chain reaction when your throat feels this way. It becomes drier, which requires more coughing. I just couldn't stop! I was coughing loudly, violently, obnoxiously and disgustingly.

Props go to my fellow riders, though, who didn't seem to bat an eye. Although I did notice the guy sitting next to me quietly edge further away from me. And I could have sworn the lady in front of me started shaking her head in disgust. It was a miserable situation for everyone involved.

So thus, today, I was "that" guy. I was annoying, I was offensive, and I was gross. But did that soften my heart towards others who will undoubtedly offend me in the future with their own nasty behavior on the train? Absolutely not! After all, Metro Opens Doors - not hearts!

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