On the Metro, Part II

Everyone seems to be writing beautiful blog posts about 2013 in retrospect and 2014 in anticipation, but all I really want to tell you is a story about something funny that happened on the metro this morning.

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Two weeks in, the thing I love the most about DC is that it surprises me constantly.  The people in DC surprise me constantly.  I’ve learned, as I’ve alluded to, that in big cities like this it’s best to keep your head down and your purse close; that’s common sense.  I ride the metros and buses and walk the sidewalks with hordes of other people.  Head down, purse close, no unnecessary eye contact.  It seems, though, that the moment I begin to think of them as “hordes of other people,” something like the following happens and reminds me that they are (we are) just people.

On the metro this morning, I was, as per usual, sitting with my nose in Express (the free, abridged version of The Washington Post).  Reading about how terrible the Redskins coach is, how worth seeing Her is, and how the temperatures will remain in the forties for the rest of the week goes a long way toward waking me up at such an unholy hour (eight a.m.).

Sitting across the aisle were two young women my age who were holding a conversation at high volume.  They weren’t exactly obnoxious, but they were speaking loudly enough that their voices nudged into Express until I got Joaquin Phoenix mixed up with their roommate whose boyfriend stays over all the time.  Other subjects they discussed: New Years Eve plans, discount jewelry shopping, and a new coworker who thought it was all right to wear jeans to work.  All light topics, which frankly I suspect most of us prefer when we must be social at eight a.m.

Despite my empathy, and my–somewhat lonely–thinking that I could probably be friends with those young women, I still chuckled when the middle-aged woman in front of me leaned over to speak to the middle-aged man in front of her: “That’s our future,” she said, throwing her hands up a little and pointing her chin toward the chattering women.

“I was thinking the same thing,” said the middle-aged man, folding his Express in preparation for a quick exit from the car.

Here’s to a 2014 full of such people.

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