Tuesday, June 26, 2007

You, too, will be assimilated

I have now lived amongst Bay Area Californians for two years and three weeks. I have striven so hard to maintain my small-town, East Coast sensibility in this land of "greener than thou," "size matters," and (my personal favorite) "I was first before you were first." And I'd thought I was doing a darn good job of it.

There is sort of an unspoken rule at BART stations that passengers should form the closest possible thing to a line while waiting for their trains. At the edge of the platform, black tiles mark where the doors of each car will (or ought) to be. Rarely is there a single-file line behind any of these tiles; two or three deep seems to be the norm. And, for the most part, the First Commandment of the Playground is observed--i.e., Thou shalt not butt in front of thy neighbor.

Owing to my bizarre work hours, the trains are hardly ever full when I head into work. If there's a Giants game, coming home is another story, although even then the problem is more the fine odor of the drunk fans than their multitude. But sometimes, especially weekend mornings, there are a lot of people trying to go to San Francisco all at once.

BART playbookSome people will still line up almost patiently at the edge of the platform. Others, however, will mill about aimlessly while waiting for the train--and then swoop in sideways once the train arrives, displacing the people in line. Often this results in glares, disgusted sighs, and not-so-subtle comments to traveling companions of "oh my God, what a bitch!"

Butters have always bothered me because of their blatant disregard for the social order of the line. Most of the time I don't care where I am in a line, as long as the line keeps moving and no one is stealing anyone else's place. But witness my evolution--or de-evolution--on this issue:

June, 2005. I'm at the head of the line while waiting for BART. Someone butts in front of me. "Jeez!" I think. "That person has no manners!"

June, 2007. I'm at the head of the line while waiting for BART. Someone butts in front of me. "WTF?" I think. "Can't he see I was here first?"

Locutus of BorgAs much as I hate to admit it, I've become Nobuttus of BART.

With only about half of my small-town circuitry remaining, I'm now part of the swarm.

Resistance is futile.


Kara said...

On the T in Boston it's every person for her/himself.

A Mom Who Thinks Too Much said...

As an East coast (and Appalachian!) transplant in urban CA for over a decade now, I share your pain.

Resistance is futile ... but you will never cease to be annoyed.