Sunday, May 10

MARC Passengers II - On the Platform

As an observer of the human condition, I can't help but record my observations for future generations of commuters, anthropologists and other observers of the human condition. So I hope readers will take the following comments in that vein. Again, if you find you resemble any of the remarks below, you probably do and are advised to curtail the annoying behavior.

The Road Block. The average MARC station platform is at most 6 or 7 feet wide. The platform is "conveniently" designed around other station and railway infrastructure such as the giant iron supports for the hundreds of miles of catenary cabling. These are right in the middle of the platform at Odenton and effectively halve the available space on the platform, providing the perfect spot for the most annoying passenger to stand with all his stuff.

Yes, right in front of the support posts, seemingly oblivious to fact the he has cut off one lane of traffic for those other annoying passengers, the Platform Nomads, forcing them to go around the support on the far side, dodging ME and these foot-long steel levers that stick out parallel to the platform. Now, as everyone knows, I like to take up a spot to the rear of the platform, hang my bag on the steel lever and use the other parts of the structure as a shelf. It's handy and it's out of the way, that is until the Road Blocks take up a position as close to the edge of the platform as possible so that they can be the first to board, which is very important to them.

The Platform Nomads. These are the passengers whose lives are not complete until they have walked the full length of the platform, annoying every single passenger with their drag-a-long luggage and inane Bluetooth banter. Why don't they just pick a spot close to one of the four entrances to the platform and stay there? Or, if they have a favorite spot, they should use the entrance closest to that spot.

The Nomad is the most annoying when he gets to the station late and platform is visibly crowded. No matter, he must go to his spot. Not satisfied with a simple annoyance, some Nomads will walk or worse, run, the length of the crowded platform to get to the coffee shop or the ticket counter and run back the length to get to their spot. This habit places them in the extraordinary annoyance class. But at least they are a fleeting problem, unless combined with the Road Block, who you must suffer interminably.

Platfrom Ranks. These are not so much an annoyance as a weird curiosity. I have been forced to take the early trains for the past two weeks and I have noticed a strange difference in the way passengers on the early trains behave. They will invariably form neat ranks, two or three deep behind no more than eight people standing side-by-side right the edge of the platform.

Each rank is separated by 15 feet or so of empty platform. What makes these passengers form such spontaneous ranks? Pheromones? Military indoctrination? A few of them seem to know each other, but for the most part each rank is an anonymous mini-mob. Weird. Someone please explain!

1 comment:

EM said...

Yes! The culture of the different trains (6:48, 7:27, 8:07, and 8:33) is amazing. You should see the discipline and order of the 6:48 people. Definitely worth studying.