This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me well, but I love public transportation. Americans are supposed to associate automobiles with freedom, but I love the idea that you can get around the city, or indeed around the world, without having to worry about parking, repairs, insurance, gas, and accidents, and with only the pack on your back. And of course there are the environmental arguments, yada yada yada.

I love trains best of all, and the best of all trains are the ones that go underground and get you all over the city efficiently. I love the fact I have to ride the metro every day here. In Washington, it was a hell of a lot faster for me to bike to work than ride the metro, but I always secretly wanted to be a metro person.

Each metro/underground/subway system has its drawbacks, and St. Petersburg’s is that every rush hour reminds me of the New Year’s Eve I spent in Times Square worrying I’d be crushed to death, but I’ve even gotten accustomed to that. I love people-watching, and I appreciate the opportunity to try to improve my Russian vocabulary by reading inane advertisements and the free newspaper they hand out.

I like to time the distance between stops and between trains, and calculate where I need to wait on the platform to have the speediest transfer or the shortest distance to the exit at my destination. I automatically factor in the 3.5 minutes it takes on each end to ride the escalators so that I can be punctual, though I’m also one of the people who sprints down the escalator when I’m running late. It isn’t possible to sprint UP the escalator unless you’re one of the first ones on it, because there’s such a high volume of ridership that there’s not really room to stand-right-walk-left, and furthermore, these are the longest escalators you’ve ever seen, so to walk up you have to be prepared for some serious physical exertion. I think I’ve managed it three times.

So for a metro geek like me, what could be better than a new metro stop opening this weekend? The fact that it’s right next to a certain somebody’s house.

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