I’m Just Not Into You Anymore

Photo courtesy of
‘Mind the Gap’
courtesy of ‘*tinadelarosa’

Dear Metro:

I’m just not into you anymore.

Look, it’s been a great relationship, for the most part. But I have to say, your actions and attitudes over the last few months had me worried to the point that I’ve begun looking at a much older friend to fulfill my needs.

I’d love to say “it’s not you, it’s me.” But it’s not me. It’s you.

Photo courtesy of
‘It has been a long day’
courtesy of ‘spiggycat’

Back in the early years of our relationship, I could handle your quirks – I thought it was part of your charm. The occasional tardiness problem? Who doesn’t run late from time to time? The weekends you’d take off or reduce your availability were completely understandable. I know its tough to constantly be on the go, servicing so many people every single day, often without appreciation or a simple “thanks.” You did what you had to do with what you had available. I didn’t even mind giving you more money a few years ago when you asked, because I knew about the help others had promised but never really delivered.

I admired you for your dedication. After all, you helped me out every day I needed you. Even when I had to rely on others from time to time, you were always there for me when I needed you most. (Even if you were having a moment, you still came through – just on your own timetable.)

But lately? What happened to you?

Your accident back in June was horrible. I know it takes time to recover from such tragedy – I can understand and wave away your mixed signals after the fact. I may not have liked it, but I understood and still embraced you every day.

Then came the lies. The attempts at deception and deflection. You got surlier, even on the ‘good’ days. You hid behind hastily taped-up paper, ignored others so you could text or talk on the phone. Even argued or just ignored those who tried to point out simple errors. Safety didn’t seem to be a concern for you at all. You started picking fights with others when they tried to help by pointing out your mistruths and inconsistencies – you just trotted out the blame game and insisted we all play along. It’s as if you didn’t know what your right or left hands were doing!

And then? You went and had another accident.

It’s been really difficult to be with you lately because of all that. I can overlook the random smells, your unkempt appearance, the jolting movements. But you make it clear that it’s everyone else’s fault but your own. You won’t even listen to those who know better – or at least try to help you by sharing their expertise. All done just to help you become better than you are. But instead, I just see temper tantrums, blank looks, and surliness.

So now you come to me dropping hints that you’re going to need more money because you’re practically broke. (Let’s set aside the fact that you didn’t tell the truth before about how much you were short.) Honestly, I would love to help you out – but this time, it’s going to cost you. I have to weigh my benefits and priorities too, you know. It saddens me that even if I shell out more money to you, you’ll most likely waste it or misuse it. Again. And then lie to me all over again. Your actions in the wake of such a tough crisis have really shown me your true self and I’m not really sure I can take it for much longer.

And so there it is. Our close relationship is at an end. I’ve decided to go back to an older friend, with whom I have a strong and solid relationship. It won’t bleed me of my money, won’t lie to me, won’t let me down. It’s more receptive to my needs. And even though there will be days that will be tough, at least I know I’m not being laughed at or tossed about like some meaningless asset while we struggle through.

We’ll still see each other, though. I’m not cutting you off. But you need to realize that from now on, we can only be friends. I can’t keep giving myself to a relationship that is so one-sided and built on neediness, abuse, deception and mistrust.

I’m sorry, Metro. From here on out, I’ll be driving to work.

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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38 thoughts on “I’m Just Not Into You Anymore

  1. WMATA needs serious change, starting with the resignation of Catoe!!!!!!!!! Heads should of been rolling since the first accident.

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  3. I don’t disagree at all about Metro–but I do urge you to reconsider whether your car really won’t bleed you of your money and won’t let you down. I suspect your car is more expensive, no more dependable, and not even safer than Metro…

  4. @Matt: Never said I was leaving, just not relying on it like I used to.

    @The Raven: Actually, my car will be cheaper and has been – I did a rough budget analysis back in August and a more detailed one last week; even without the fare hike, driving my (still relatively new) car will save me about $10 a week, compared to Metro. (And that includes insurance, standard maintenance, fuel, and parking downtown.) When the fare hike comes – and it will, there’s no escaping it – my savings will be even higher. And this isn’t even counting the 30 minutes each way (accounting for heavy traffic) I save on commute time.

    I just didn’t want to give up on Metro. Until today.

  5. Weren’t there a couple of fires??? Don’t forget the fires…I don’t think that’s the kind of reigniting we were hoping for.

    Love it.

  6. I’ve commuted solely by Metro and Metrobus since 1996 but in the last month, for the first time ever, I too have started having thoughts that maybe it would actually be better to drive.

    I’m not ready to break up yet, but the fact that the thought would even cross my environmentalist brain is disturbing. If committed riders start leaving the system it will just create a downward spiral of rate hikes and reduced service. This could be bad.

  7. I’d love to ditch Metro, but currently, driving to work from Silver Spring to Rosslyn would cost me more just in parking alone, not to mention the gas + wear/tear and it’d actually take just as long because there’s just no good way to drive that.

  8. This is precisely the conclusion I came to back in June. I’ve not ridden metro to work a single day since. I still use it for lunchtime trips and happy hours, etc, but I no longer wish to rely solely on it for my daily commute. I couldn’t be happier. Also, I just started carpooling so it’s even more economical. Two big thumbs up to Ben for this article.

  9. I have been driving to work for over a year. Metro is such a big disappointment and has not been reliable in most cases…..Metro has robbed me so many times, that I’m practically paying the same when parking…..Peace & Mind and on Time!!!!

  10. ben: in all those expenses, did you count the actual price of the car? it doesn’t sound like you amortized that whatsoever in your analysis.

  11. Amen. My very last Metro ride will be in just over a week. It will be a sweet, sweet day for all of the reasons listed. Safety must always be priority #1.

  12. If safety was genuinely priority #1 you would continue to ride Metro. I’m too lazy to look up the statistics, but even with this year’s horrible accident the number of (non-suicide-attempt-related) injuries and deaths due to Metro has to be significantly lower than the number of injuries and deaths that take place on DC area roads and highways during commuting hours.

  13. Welcome to the club. I drive an old car (that’s been paid off for years) that gets excellent gas mileage and is still in good condition, and I would never ever willingly choose to use Metro over driving. The mess of the last year makes me even happier that I’ve never given much money to an organization that will only misuse the funds.

    Driving is, easier, faster, safer, more convenient, and most importantly allows me to get where I’m going on my own terms on my own schedule. For me it has cost a bit more money (over the years some employers have paid for parking; others have not) but it’s worth it to me to be self-sufficient with regard to my commute (which has never been that bad; I live on the Hill and have mostly only had to commute downtown and to Old Town, except for meetings in farther flung locales).

  14. @Nate, what about the safety of my stuff? No one has ever snatched my iPod out of my car, but that sort of thing happens constantly on Metro.

  15. “It won’t bleed me of my money…” Yes, cars *do* bleed you of money. Fares would have to more than *triple* to overcome the amount of money I’m saving on insurance alone by not owning a car. That’s real spending–I know what my family spends on Metro every month, and I know the price I was quoted for insurance when we moved here. The math is something even a politician would have a hard time screwing up.

    …and that doesn’t even count the parking, car payments, fuel, maintenance, outrageously-expensive inspections, or a hundred bucks a month for blood pressure pills for dealing with all the traffic!

    I’m sorry; those of you who are used to having the Metro around just don’t realize what a blessing it is. I moved here in June from a town of 100,000 in West Texas that has effectively no public transit, no walkable neighborhoods. You almost have to own a car to go to the next door neighbor’s house.

    Yes, Metro has issues, and money and safety are among the things I am concerned about, too. But a lot of things that I hear people complaining about with Metro either:

    a) are so petty that I can’t grasp them (“OMG I had to wait THREE MINUTES for a train at rush hour!”)

    b) should be handled with the help of a competent therapist (Overheard exchange with a bus driver: Pax: “Do you *know* who I am?” Driver: “No sir, and I don’t care, particularly.” Pax: “But do you know who I *am*?” Driver: “You’re not listening, sir. I’m not going off-route for you.”)

    or c) aren’t a problem with WMATA, but with its’ selfish, one-dimensional, rude, spoiled-brat, clueless…

    …customers. Be the change you want to see, and quit bitching about that stuff, eh?

    (if you want a fair comparison on safety, drive a 35-year-old vehicle that has not had thorough inspections for several years, because you couldn’t afford it. Definitely not safe. And fewer people have died in Metro accidents–in its *history*, than are killed on DC roadways every year. Thank you, I’ll stick to Metro.)

  16. @nichole
    Interesting…after riding the metro for a good 10+ years I’ve never had anything stolen from me, been assaulted, or witnessed any theft or violent crime. However, I have had my 1992 Taurus broken into a couple of times, and I’ve only been driving that POS for about 5 years. I’m willing to bet more people get crap stolen out of their cars every day then get robbed on the Metro.

  17. Bully for you David! I, too, am skeptical of Ben’s claims that his car is cheaper… (do you drive only about 5 miles to work??). And while I have many of the same complaints (it sucks to wait over 20 minutes for a train — yes, David, it happens) I find that overall my metro experience is just fine. Sure, it smells sometimes, but so does the Potomac.

  18. Thanks, elc. Sure, when a train is 20 minutes late, I can see being a little grumpy, particularly if it’s a busy time of day. But I don’t get the screaming tirades I’ve heard over a bus or train being two or three minutes late.

    I have found that being a Buddhist helps a *lot* when dealing with Metro-and-the-other-perils-of-living-around-DC. This is a bustling hive of 3-million-ish people, only ONE of whom you have any control over at all. Once you get over the illusion that you are anybody important, and act accordingly, things do get easier, and, in fact, the system treats you nicer.

    If you want a heapin’ helpin’ of bad attitude from a bus driver, point out how much more important you are to the Grand Scheme of Things than they are. I see it happen every day, and frankly, I don’t blame Metro employees for being surly about it.

    Once you’re at the first stop of your commute, the end result–the time you get where you’re going–is completely out of your hands! It’s in the hands of Central Control, drivers, dispatchers, other traffic, and the weather. Do your part, get there on time or a little early, then *relax*.

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  20. Worrying about losing your iPod to a snatch thief is completely different from worrying about your personal safety, which is what Janet claimed was “priority #1.” And much like RSN, I’ve had items stolen from my car (including parts off my engine!) several times in the last three years alone, but have never, in over 13 years, been involved in or witnessed a crime on Metro.

    No one is trying to claim Metro is a glorious fountain of sunshine and roses, and they definitely have major management issues (the SmartBenefits fiasco particularly pissed me off), but this whole entry and the chorus of amens that follow it strike me as more of a Drama Queen rant than a rational consideration of the situation.

    One thing that no one has really pointed out is that as a Metro rider I get to spend my commute hours reading, prepping for work, watching videos on my iPod, or even napping. Even with a slightly longer commute time, and even if the costs were to be slightly higher than driving (which I sincerely doubt), I think I come out ahead in the end. To all those who disagree, enjoy your time sitting in traffic.

  21. for those who have never experienced any problems riding on the metro, it does not suggest it never happens. god i hope you didn’t obtain college education because you wasted a lot of money.

    there is no doubt that car accidents are much greater in number than any form of public transportation. plus as a metro rider, you also have less liability issues. the environmental impact of metro is less abusive even if everyone chose to drive a prius. i know the metro can be disappointing at times, but just having a metro system is a progress within our society. voice your complaints and continued to do so to anyone who has an incentive to listen to you.

  22. Bloomingdale res, where can you find an example in this thread of someone claiming that because nothing has happened to them on Metro it means that there are absolutely no risks associated with riding? People are posting their own, personal, comparative experiences, contrasting their personal, direct experience with Metro (which some are characterizing as appallingly unsafe) with their personal, direct experience with driving.

    If someone had said, “I’ve never seen it therefore it doesn’t exist,” they would indeed be worthy of your insults about their education. Someone saying “My personal experience would suggest that driving and car ownership are more risky than taking the Metro, and therefore your safety argument is weak,” is not making the argument you attack, however, and it’s dishonest of you to suggest that they are.

  23. Nate, try 26 and keep going up. was i insulting? absolutely and my apologies. some of the readers should be insulted by their ignorance. i said some, not all. and me being dishonest? Nate, do you really have to be that obvious to imply what they were saying? (implying or believing that driving is safer than metro). i lacked tactfulness, but i was being honest.

  24. @bloomingdale res

    Good deductive reasoning. I’ve never witnessed murder, assault, rape, or armed robbery either so its most likely safe for me to assume that none of those crimes happen anywhere in this world either.

    I’ll admit that perhaps responding to Nichole’s personal experience example with my own was not the best debate tactic, however your assumption that I believe that these things never happen to anyone because they don’t happen to me is equally idiotic. By the way next time just call me out by name.

  25. People who complain and point fingers about the intelligence of others and yet can’t be bothered to make their own comments grammatically correct or logically coherent are one of my favorite things about Internet. And your reading of comment #26 is still incorrect.

  26. Nate, attacking my grammar? pathetic. plus it’s comment blogging, hence no caps and perfect grammar. i bet you perform grammar check before you text someone.

    rsn, your approach to this debate wasn’t great and neither was mine. it’s interesting that the three of us (me, Nate, and you) are mass transportation supporters. i suspect you also believe that odds of bad things happening to yourself greatly increases in a personal vehicle than in mass transportation. so my bad for jumping to conclusions. i should have also considered that you were just sharing your experience. with that said, don’t you think many ex-metro riders develop a false sense of security in cars despite the greater odds of accidents in a POS? my intention was to convey the underlying sentiments of people abandoning the metro. this sort of irrational behavior is similar to the reaction of people opting out of flying after 9/11.

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