Friday, August 26, 2005

laws of nature

A few weeks ago, MKD and I were riding home on the Metro from a nice happy hour spent with her co-workers (I like to drink, it doesn't matter if I work there or not) when a biblical plague of tourists came upon us.

I swear to god, this one couple had 50 children, all the same age, speaking some indescribable high-pitched language and constantly switching seats like a swarm of flies. Not only were the parents wearing, I do not joke, STRAW HATS (hello, I know its hot, but this is not a tropical isle, please leave your straw hats in Jamaica where they belong), but they were so busy bickering over who had to hold the water bottles for their 50 children, they did absolutely nothing when their demon spawn began to run amok on the train.

Each time we slowed down to approach a stop, this one beastie decided it was the fun-est thing in the world to let the pull of the decelerating train make him swing around the pole. Of course, when the other spawn saw how much fun this was, they all lined up behind him and grabbed the pole too.

When traveling in a circle, there are certain forces at work (that I can remember from high school physics). These are centrifugal and centripetal force. One draws out of the center and the other draws in, maintaining a delicate ballet of circular motion.

Here, I drew you some pictures--

The Circle: Centrifugal Force

The Circle, Part II: Centripetal Force

What Happens when Centrifugal Force is too Strong for Kiddies' Wee Hands:
And really, its almost was a fiasco! MKD and I constantly faced the ever-increasingly-possibility one of those children would swing right off that pole and straight into our laps. And these were kids, not eany weany baby children that maybe wouldn't hurt as much if they were to suddenly fly into you. Most annoyingly, the parents just fucking sat there in their straw hats the whole time, with that sort of heat stroke numbness common to DC summer commuters, completely ignoring the dirty eye that I was giving them. If a child had flown through the air into me, I would have thrown down, right there and then.

(Dear DC Tourist- When its 95 degrees in 100% humidity and the heat index says it feels more like 110 degrees, don't go downtown. Don't walk the entire Mall, stay away from Capitol Hill. Don't even walk from the Natural History Museum to the National Gallery of Art. Go see a movie, eat some ice cream and stay off my friggin metro. Thanks.)

Luckily, as hellish as this was, MKD and I kept our cool, even though this kind of behavior makes me reconsider my position on corporal punishment by strangers on a train. If or when I have children, I'm raising them in Sweden, where the constant social pressure to repress repress repress will keep them quiet and nicely-mannered.