Subway etiquette and the social order: Are you a Left-Stepper, Right-Stepper or Parker?

image Washington, D.C., the main setting of The Solomon Scandals, is like Hollywood or an Army base. It’s a city of hierarchies, both official and social.

Read on and find out where you stand in the social order. You don’t have to live in D.C. to take the related poll in this post—one visitor has even dropped in several times from China.

Based on D.C. subway etiquette, here are the three classes of people, as labeled by a drunken PR man at a gossip columnist’s party in Scandals.

  • image Left-Steppers are the ones in a hurry—and maybe a threat to the establishment. But why Left-Steppers? Well, by ancient custom, the slower commuters on the Metro escalators are supposed to let others pass on the left. Left-Steppers can be anyone from an uppity reporter to the younger Bill Gates, when he was overturning the hegemony of IBM. I don’t care if Gates lives near Seattle or whether he’s ever been on the D.C. Metro. It’s the metaphor that counts.
  • Right-Steppers would rather take life easy and just collect a paycheck. They let the Left-Steppers pass them on the escalators. Nothing wrong with being a Right-Stepper. The cosmos needs all kinds. So what about the people in the picture? This example actually doesn’t count—the father is just introducing his son to the subway. The boy may yet grow up to be a Left-Stepper.
  • Parkers are the Right-Steppers’ bosses and, even in an expensive town like Washington, they drive to work. Or their companies pay the parking for them. Yes, in D.C. some Right-Steppers enjoy parking as a fringe benefit, but you get the idea. Parkers are the establishment. Think of the politicians who, at least in the past, enjoyed free parking at National Airport.

Image credits: The first image is a  Creative Commons photo by Funky Fat Girl. The second is from Wikipedia.

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David Rothman

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