Traffic Slug Tales: Slugs Don’t Forget Cutters
Just like it was in elementary school, cutting in line is one of the greatest offenses a Slug can commit.
When a Slug cuts in line, or takes a ride out of turn, things are sure to get ugly. Not only will the other Slugs left behind talk negatively about that person and maybe even yell at them directly for cutting, but the offender will have made a name for themselves as the most hated in the Slug line.
I’ve heard Slugs in the line talking about people who have taken rides out of turn, either by just casually walking up to a car and getting in while a line of Slugs wait patiently, or by “pretending” to be friends with the driver. The “will call” rule applies when a driver knows a Slug somewhere in line and calls out for them to get in, even if they are not first in line. I don’t see it happen particularly often, but it does happen, and although Slugs might grumble about it when the line is long, they typically just accept the driver’s choice.
When I’ve planned to meet with friends for a ride in the past, I’ve made sure to arrange for them to meet me somewhere away from the Slug line, so that it doesn’t appear that I’m jumping in line or stealing a ride. I would hate to make myself unpopular amongst my fellow commuters!
And Slugs don’t forget cutters. I know that I’ll never forget the habitual cutter I used to run into in the bus line at the Pentagon. When I would leave work too late to Slug home in the evenings, I used to make my way over to the Pentagon to catch the bus. Sometimes when there are several OmniRide buses loading at the same time, the lines will be moved around slightly to accommodate each of the buses in the bus bays. After catching the bus regularly for a while, I began to notice that one lady in particular was taking advantage of the bit of chaos created by lines being moved, and would jump from her spot in the middle of the line, somehow ending up at the front of the line to board the bus.
For weeks, I watched this happen and wondered why no one was speaking up. Other people in line would even comment to each other, clearly taking note of her cutting in line, and every day, it made me more and more angry. Why was she getting away with this? Why isn’t anyone saying anything to her? When I’d see her each evening, I would think of her as “The Cutter” and I’d wait for her to make her move to the front of the line. She never failed.
One night, I decided that I’d had enough. I must have had a bad day, or maybe I was just tired of seeing this happen without any repercussion. A couple of times before then, I had told myself that the next time The Cutter cut in line I was going to say something to her, but didn’t. I’m just not a confrontational person. But I wasn’t taking it anymore. There is a line, and it was time she started respecting it!
The bus pulled up behind its usual spot in the bus bay, and sure enough, The Cutter “inconspicuously” made her way to the front. This time, however, it was me at the front of the line. As she approached, clearly thinking she was going to jump in front of me, I stopped her in her tracks.
“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a line going here, and I’m pretty sure you just came from back there,” I said, fed up.
Another gentleman standing behind me backed me up and told her she could not cut. The Cutter mumbled something back about how the line was being moved and she was just following everyone, but she wasn’t fooling us. No way – I know your game, lady. Back to your spot you go!
Well, not quite. She didn’t exactly go back to where she came from in the line, but she certainly didn’t get in front of me.
Proud of myself for finally standing up to her and her cutting ways, I wondered if I had taught her a lesson. Her cutting was not going unnoticed, and she wasn’t going to get away with it anymore — at least not as long as I was standing in the line.
While I’ve never seen that lady again since that day, I’ve wondered if I stopped her from breaking the rules. One thing’s for sure though – if I ever did see her again, I’d always remember her as the lady who cuts in line! And as a commuter, cutting in line is one offense that you definitely do not want to be known for.
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