April 27, 2011

Random Commuter Observations

As suggested by my post yesterday, the advent of spring in Your Nation's Capital has reawakened my loathing for tourons. As regular Camelidophiles know, this has long been a staple of Robbo's fair-weather ranting.

Well, put down your coffee cups and swallow those chunks of coffee cake, because you're about to get a shock: I actually had a pleasant touron experience last evening.

First, let me clarify a thing or two. From the occasional hints in the comments left on my rants about this subject, I get the impression that some of you think I'm something of a.....snob. Well, as a matter of fact, I am, but not in the way you may be thinking. You see, I don't buy into the notion of Dee Cee as some kind of Emerald City, nor do I subscribe to that Blue State sneering about Fly-Over Country knuckle-draggers favored by the likes of the editorial staff of the NY Times and the denizens of the Puffington Host. As far as I'm concerned, anybody is welcomed to come and see the sights, and nobody who happens to live here has any particular legitimate reason to feel superior to such visitors because of their zip code. So that's that.

No, my gripe - consistently stated, I think - is over the lack of basic courtesy that some of these visitors display, mostly in the form of blocking sidewalks and screaming at each other on the metro. It's true that such blockers and screamers usually seem to be busloads of teenagers from Kansas, but they could be anybody - the College of Cardinals, Xenophon's Ten Thousand - and such behavior would still be extremely rude. And it's equally true that although I'm griping about it happening in Dee Cee, this is just because this is where I happen to live and work. It could be anywhere else - Duluth, Samarkand - and if I were hot and tired and trying to get back and forth on my commute it would still irritate the hell out of me.

So you see, I distinguish between "tourists" and "tourons" based on their behavior. I've absolutely nothing against the former, and it's only the latter that fill me with loathing. And as I say, my dislike of tourons is completely practical and personal and has nothing to do with snobbery or elitist expectations.

And now for the good experience. As I shuffled along F Street toward the metro last evening, my weary eyes caught sight of a mob of shiftless yoot in matching t-shirts beginning to pour out of a souvenir store next to Ford's Theatre. "Oh, Jesum Crow," thought I, "here we go. I may even have to tack over a block just to get around them all." However, before the mob congealed into an immovable barrier across the sidewalk, a magnificent woman chaperon, taking her cue no doubt from the Centurion who says goeth, started barking at them, "I want you all up against the wall and I want you there NOW!" Mirabile dictu, up against the wall is exactly where they all went. I sailed right past.

You see? That's all I ask - that people pay attention to where they are and what they're doing, and that they have some care for those around them. Chaperon Lady did so - I almost turned back to shake her by the hand - and all was well. If more tourons acted with her thoughtfulness, why, Robbo would be out of a significant source of blog material.

UPDATE: Evidently, somebody at Pravda on the Potomac has been reading this post. I am Llama. Hear me orgle.

Posted by Robert at April 27, 2011 09:00 AM | TrackBack

You met me, remember? That's always a highlight of dealing with tourists.

And you just scowl at the tourons anyway. I've seen you do it.

Posted by: GroovyVic at April 27, 2011 10:07 AM

Squint. Squint!

Anyhoo, you aren't a random tourist, you're teh Vic!

Posted by: Robbo the LB at April 27, 2011 10:18 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?