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Walk on the left, stand on the right. Or is it the other way around?

Walk on the left, stand on the right. Or is it the other way around?

Wikimedia Commons

Ten Commandments for DC Commuters

These rules - rather, commandments - should be chiseled into the walls of every Metro station or tattooed on the foreheads of every offending commuter in DC.

And while the ancient Hebrews had Moses hauling down two stone tablets from Mount Sinai, you’ll have to settle for little ol’ me posting this online missive. Hopefully not to an audience of decadent revelers worshipping a golden calf.

I. Thou shalt walk on the left and stand on the right on a Metro station escalator. Talkin’ to you, clueless hipster with his face buried in a Reddit post. People are trying to get somewhere, even if you’re in no hurry to get to your local independent coffee shop with free Wi-Fi.

II. Thou shalt not form a horizontal human chain while walking. This applies to you high-schoolers on a forced march from the World War II Memorial to the US Capitol. Joggers and bicyclists veer 90 degrees around you while you chit-chat about the text you just received from your crush at the other end of the walking path.

III. Thou shalt refrain from going in reverse if you miss an off-ramp or turn. Do you think no one is behind you, Mr. Vanity-License-Plate-Guy from New York? I sympathize with your struggle, Mr. Uber or Lyft driver. However, this is defies common sense and state troopers might argue it’s a moving violation.

IV. Thou shalt not talk on mass transit unless absolutely necessary. I don’t want to hear about your day, stranger. No need to proselytize to me, Wiccan Priestess. I’m wearing Beats by Dre earmuffs that are unplugged for a reason. Give me time to chill out and find my inner sanctum.

V. Thou shalt park your car in one space, not straddle two. We know you think your 2019 BMW 3-Series sedan is precious. But I will happily park my crappy, wood-paneled Chevrolet Chevette 1 millimeter from your bumper to ensure I don’t get a ticket. Stay in your space and I’ll stay in mine.

VI. Thou shalt not pay bus fare using coins and bills. Sweet beard of Moses, please get a SmarTrip card, which is good for Metrorail, Metrobus and partnered transit agencies.

VII. Thou shalt not occupy a seat on a bus or train with your bag or purse. The 78-year-old lady who just worked a double-shift is standing in the aisle and your satchel is resting comfortably in the seat next to yours. Move your murse into your lap and at least offer her the seat.

VIII. Thou shalt refrain from talking loudly on the phone aboard mass transit. Nobody wants to hear about the results of your latest proctological exam, or the latest gossip about Tim and Katie. Gossip is better reserved for text, anyway.

IX. Thou shalt not ride your bicycle on a busy sidewalk if there’s a bike lane available. Bike bros beware - you don’t always have the right of way. Use the bike lanes that bike advocates across DC have worked so diligently to get created. Your bike commute might actually be quicker if you don’t have to weave in and out of a bunch of clueless pedestrians (see the Second Commandment above).

X. Thou shalt not jog on a busy street if there is a sidewalk available. We know you’re the Ultimate Jogger - you’ve got the spandex and ultraviolet knee-high compression socks to prove it. But you’re drifting into the path of my gas-guzzling SUV and there’s a very empty sidewalk where you can hit the hardtop.

So let it be written. So let it be done.

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