The latest issue of The Atlantic declares America "Fat Nation." My daily trips on the Washington Metro during the warmer days of spring confirm it.
And what do the visiting hibernators among us do on a subway escalator? Stand there. That's it.
Perhaps this is nothing to flop-sweat at a shopping mall when you're carrying the George Foreman Food Preparation Suite, and a faster trip home means an early start to crushing loneliness mitigated by Access Hollywood. But on the National Mall, escalatorquette (not as catchy as sh*tiquette, I know) means the difference between DC workers putting up with you and committing a flagrant foul worthy of Amare Stoudemire.
We're a restless and annoyingly energetic bunch in the District, and subway escalators are just an extension of the Stairmaster at the Obscenely Gilded Appropriator-Turned-Lobbyist Office. Standing still means being late or insufficiently early to work, and on a deeper level, dragging down society as unproductive social-service suckers. That's the point of an escalator, right? To bring you up when you've done nothing to earn it? And alternately, to carry you down forlornly, like a whimpering dog in a learned-helplessness experiment instead of a teeth-baring Gerard Butler fighting a Persian transsexual?
By refusing to accelerate your journey up to and down from ground level, this city's professional class views you, the Escaloser, as just another clan of flyover flunkies that we have to bail out. You are frittering away your productive years in decaying economic zones, zipped from home to (unemployment) office surrounded by recirculated air and reprocessed food, instead of joining the public sector and its enablers, filled with fit and fun Frisbee-flinging foodies, which brought this economy back to life. We despise your kind. But it's your life, if you can call it that.
So if you're wielding a fanny pack and a digital SLR with a flock of hyperactive children in tow, here are some tips.
Stay on the right side of the escalator. Talk to each other looking up and down, not side to side. PAY ATTENTION when you get on and off, and be on the lookout for people hurriedly approaching, because they'll need to pass you. Physically restrain your children, and threaten to take them to the American Indian museum if they don't behave.
And do as the Romans do by yourself huffing up and down the escalator. We'll respect you for it, before gleefully voting to cut your ethanol subsidies.