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NYP to WAS: a commuter's guide

18:59, today

So you're heading on a trip from NYC to Washington D.C. via train? Great! Here are some guidelines.

While in New York

  • When walking down the street on your way to Penn Station, (ostensibly pulling your rolling luggage behind you), don't forget to make random direction changes and stops - you don't want the people behind you to know where you're headed.
  • If you are traveling with companions, feel free to walk side-by-side - the streets are often wide enough for several people to stroll casually.
  • You may have noticed that your rolling luggage can be used to ensure a sufficient amount of space between you and other pedestrians. Don't hesitate to enhance this effect.
  • While standing at the edge of a curb, waiting to cross a street, you may notice people crossing the street perpendicular to you, coming towards you in their attempts to achieve the safety of the curb. Pay these people no mind - they'll certainly go around you.

At Penn Station and On the Train

  • If you're riding Amtrak's Northeast Regional train, the quiet car is the second from the back. Definitely sit in this car. Be sure to ignore the signs posted at the doors and at several locations hanging from the ceiling reminding you that it is, in fact, the quiet car.
  • The train may not be sold out, so don't forget to take up two seats. When someone asks you to move, assuming (almost certainly correctly) that you have not actually paid for two, make sure that you let them know just how inconvenient they have just made things for you. But don't use words.
  • When one of the other passengers on the quiet car reminds you that it is, in fact, the quiet car_, comment to your friend, "Oh, I'm sure that doesn't apply to us."
  • The quiet car does not allow mobile phone usage - should you need to accept an incoming call, answer the call, and inform the caller that they will need to wait a moment while you step into the next car. Be sure to do this with a clear, loud voice - some areas of the Northeast Corridor have poor cellphone coverage, and you wouldn't want your caller to misunderstand you.
  • When getting ready to leave, make sure you stand in the aisle and talk loudly with your companion. I mean, everyone else is getting off at your stop, right?
  • Also while you're standing there having this conversation, be sure to ignore other passengers who want to retrieve their belongings from the overhead so they too can pack up in anticipation of debarkation.

In Washington, D.C.

Now that you've arrived at Washington Union Station, there are a few more guidelines:

  • Escalators have enough room for you to stand beside your rolling luggage. You may notice people who appear to be in a hurry trying to pass on your left - similar to the train seating issue above, be sure to properly convey how much of an inconvenience this is.
  • When you arrive at the top of the stairs or escalator, you will have to extend the handle of your wheeled luggage. The best place to perform task this is immediately at the top of the stairs. Don't worry, everyone else will be happy to wait for you to finish.

Yes, all of these things have happened, most of them today.

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