Friday, September 12, 2008

Who's Ugging Whom?

Rode the Metro today, no bike. I don't bike when it's wet out.

At my stop, a couple that had been chatting the whole way on the train stepped out onto the platform just ahead of me. They were still talking. They took the down escalator, but then they faced "The Conversation-Escalation" problem.

When two people who are conversationally inclined get onto the DC Metro's escalators, they only have two polite options: standing on the right on different steps, or walking down together on the left. If it's not rush hour, no one's going to kill you if you want to talk to your friend on the same level, blocking the left (or passing) lane... as long as you move over when we tell you to. But during busy times that's not an option, and your conversation must suffer a brief respite.

This couple obviously had not planned well. They took the escalator two abreast, but the girl got stuck on the right while the guy went down on the left. I noticed the girl's annoyance, so I let her ahead of me in the passing lane with a "Go ahead."

She said, "Thanks a lot. Ugh." She went in front of me and followed her guy. I kind of forgot about it. Then she said, "I wasn't ugging you."

I realized she was talking to me. I said, "Huh? What did you say?"

She said "I wasn't ugging you. I was ugging him, for going ahead. You know, it could have been interpreted..."

"Oh," I said, "Don't worry about it." I hadn't thought she was ugging me. I thought she was ugging the situation, the Metro, the escalator rules, her guy, anything other than me. After all, I was the one who let her in. In this town, that's something to be really thankful for.

But now I know a new word. Ugging. To ug. I'm thinking a lot about words these days. See my post on Hatandcoat, which I put up just after this one, for more wordmania.

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