Slugging Aint Easy

mmw_slugging_0311A few weeks ago while visiting our friends over at the DC Women’s Business Center, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. There were people randomly lined up in unmarked areas of downtown Washington DC standing calmly in lines, just waiting. Since I’m a curious creature, I decided to pay close attention to how this whole ordeal was going down. So, really, people – dressed in various types of clothing and of different ethnicity’s, ages, sex and stature, wait in line for unmarked cars to pull up to the curb. There is a really quick exchange of words (which I could not inconspicuously decode), the person gets into the car and they roll away. After a bit of post observation research, I learned that this practice is simply referred to as slugging.

Slugging is a term used to describe a unique form of commuting found in the Washington, DC area sometimes referred to as “Instant Carpooling” or “Casual Carpooling”. It’s unique because people commuting into the city stop to pickup other passengers even though they are total strangers! However, slugging is a very organized system with its own set of rules, proper etiquette, and specific pickup and drop-off locations. It has thousands of vehicles at its disposal, moves thousands of commuters daily, and the best part, it’s FREE! Not only is it free, but it gets people to and from work faster than the typical bus, metro, or train.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the thought of getting into a random car with a random person sounds real Michael Myers-like, but that’s not the point here. The point is how this random, self-organized, unconventional method of travel has taken on a movement of its own and has even embraced a standard of etiquette rules and protocol to ensure its livelihood.

The concept of slugging made me think about all of the other unconventional things that we have embraced and built a set of standards, rules, processes or protocol around it without really realizing. You might casually think of Man Code, as men simply respecting an unspoken set of standards that men live by. You may think of Buying a Round of drinks after your friend just initiated a round a short while ago, to simply keep the party going. You may even Provide Socks to friends who are coming over your house when you request for them to remove their shoes.

Scarlet Says…Whether it is a deep-rooted commonly utilized practice like Thank You Cards or a newer passive practice like Man Code, etiquette and protocol has its place in every aspect of our lives. It exists not to impart stiff, boring and antiquated practices into our day, but instead to be guidance in maximizing our relationships and our time. Take advantage of it!

Until Next Time,

– Scarlet

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