Permanently on the Blue Line: A Call for Moral Reform on the Montreal Metro System

Anthony Pintabona

Screen shot 2022-03-20 at 11.28.40 PM.pngImage source: Flickr.

Unfortunately for many Montreal residents, the public metro is the only viable means of reaching most of downtown's destinations. Chances are if you are reading this than you as well, my fellow scholar have had first-hand encounter with this vulgar, dimly lit and genuinely offensive means of transportation. As a result, I assume--nay, I am guaranteed--that you have experienced much of the same struggle. It is for this reason that I humbly implore you to join a fellow victim's lifelong journey in this chronologically based narrative recount of my cyclical experience with the Montreal metro system and all the horrors it ensures.


By making an example of myself let it be clear that I plan to create a social movement towards reforming the average Montreal citizen's sense of moral responsibility and thereby instilling a new, cultured and civilized modern-era metro etiquette that will be officially regarded as mandatory practice.


Montreal residents are exposed to the fast-paced, money-driven culture of the city at a young age. It is then no surprise that I, a young student have endured the horrors of public transit for most of my academic career. Originally claimed by my elders to be a state-of-the-art means of transportation, I was excited to experience technological innovation at it's finest--only to be completely and utterly letdown.


To emphasize, picture the starry-eyed wonderment of a young lad first taking a step towards independence: A step that was expected to build character. As my transition towards secondary education included the responsibility of occupying space within one of the many vile, soiled trains situated in the underground depths of the city, I have a deep-rooted and long-winded history of experience within the public transit system. To make clear my unbiased nature--yes, I possess a valid driver's license and have access to a fully functioning, rather splendid automobile: The always-immaculate 1992 Honda Civic.


I have weighed the positive and negative aspects of my transportation possibilities and made the conscious decision to sell my soul for the blue devil known as "Opus". While that may seem to be a fitting end to the story, it simply is not the case.


The reason for my bitter attitude is the overall lack of moral judgment and sub-par etiquette of the average metro user. Unfortunately, it seems the Canadian culture's self-centered attitude has resulted in an overall state of lack-of-cognitive-reasoning and common sense within the average citizen's mind.


To explain further, the following anecdotal evidence should be considered. Once upon a time, a newly admitted Concordia student was on his way home after a long day of academic commitment. Perhaps one of his largest mistakes (And a newly-founded life lesson) was that he made the costly error of purchasing the semester's textbooks at the beginning of the day-- resulting in a day-long commute of burden comparable only to crucifixion. In my mind, it goes without saying that the individual not only strapped to a backpack--but forced to carry a ghastly, burdensome duo of effeminately-shaped Concordia Book Store "Green-bags"(Or green-purses, as they are now being referred) containing an adolescent child's weight in text, is far more deserving of a seat on the metro than John Doe who currently lacks any possessions of such arduous nature.


Whilst I struggle to keep hold of my belongings, John Doe--and keeping in tone with this narrative, may I be as liberal as possible with the following explanation of character--sits amongst his throne, the much-coveted corner seat single unit--and represents wholly and authoritatively as the hollow-shell of complete moral emptiness that encompasses the average Montreal dweller whilst underground.

If there is one aspect of the public transit system that does exercise pure-human thought and reasoning it is without a doubt the common escalator. A single file, straight-line system? That seems too logical for STM users. Surely, what we have picked up over the years is quite simple; the left hand side of the stairs is the "Express line" And the right side the stationary result of the remaining metro users' distressed anguish and exhaustion. Logic denotes that individuals who must exercise haste in order to meet their daily commitments will opt for the express line.


Then why, may I ask does it seem appropriate for one of these stationary "loafers" to seemingly wonder from the herd of non-mobility and find himself/herself situated in direct obstruction of the "Express  Line"? In my opinion, surely one who has made this decision to delay a whole systematic order of morals deserves to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law in a public display of humiliation.


Our journey is not all bleak however, as the solace and comfort of the escalator seems just a vague mirage in a time of complete and utter hallucination. The sure-sign that the trip has finally come to its conclusion, the automatic set of stairs seem to be a gift from the heavens even when they are accompanied by the fresh minus twenty-degree winter breeze generated from the swiveling doors being barged into time-and-time again.


While these divine breezes hit like a bitter-sweet slap worthy of a questionable fetishist's Saturday night flick, they are paired with the comforting sight of the quintessential extended hand clutching a soiled baseball cap (Or crumpled Tim Hortons cup) that signify the local pleasantry have offered their greetings upon arrival. All seems well at this current time as our journey draws to a close, however, one last trial waits: The obligatory bus ride home.   


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