This morning, as I made my way toward the metro escalators, I noticed a woman adjacent to me, also heading for the escalators. Even more notable was the fact that she was looking directly at me, a sort of knowing smile/smirk on her face. At first, I wondered if we knew each other. We didn’t. Nonetheless, as we arrived at the top of the escalators around the same time, she said, “you look pretty today.” I smiled, thanked her, and continued to descend down the stairs.
I was completely rattled.
The following thoughts took over:
- who was that woman?
- do i know her? have we had a conversation before on the train?
- she wants to harvest my kidneys.
- i’m wearing a huge coat, a scarf, sneakers. i look pretty?
- i look pretty TODAY? as opposed to the other days when she had seen me?
- what was with that weird smile?
- please, please don’t sit next to me on the train.
- where did she go? she was right behind me and now she’s gone!
- did I imagine that whole exchange?
- maybe she thought she knew me…
- who WAS that woman?
The end. (I refuse to psychoanalyze myself in this instance. I’m accepting my reaction. The woman freaked me out.)
Eternally Paranoid Girley
I am a Metro commuter.
They should have meetings and/or support groups for our little subculture (well, hardly little), for the sole purpose of me standing up in the middle of a room and making that statement, followed by people who nod and say, “yes, YES.”
Anyway, as a Metro commuter, I have moments where I scratch my head out of the confusion and frustration of it all, and I have moments when I smile at seeing the most intriguing and interesting slices of life and the human experience. As a rider, it can be thoroughly stinky. As a writer, it can be completely inspiring. A veritable cocktail of madness and marvel.
- Unfortunately, riding on the Metro has proven something I sadly knew but didn’t want to see evidenced almost every day: chivalry is, indeed, largely dead. Never have I seen more men lacking in courtesy to women, especially those with special circumstances, such as pregnant women or the elderly. I once watched, horrified, as a hugely pregnant woman stood and lurched backward and forward with each movement of the train while men sat all around her. (Once a seat became available, I nearly pushed her into it, I was so desperate to see her off her feet. There is no way, anywhere, that a pregnant woman should be mashed between people on a train.) Anyway, I’m not generalizing, by any means. It’s not all men, but some. Nonetheless, scenes smiliar to the above happen more often than not, and I find it incredibly sad and infurating. And utterly maddening.
- Let’s be equal opportunity here: I’ve seen some women show their discourtesy to other riders, as well. Blind individuals; people with special needs; OTHER pregnant women; the elderly—the list goes on and on. What’s worse is when they’re sitting in the seats reserved for those with special needs and then someone walks onto the train and requires those seats…and they pretend to be oblivious.
- The Metro doors are monstrous. They aren’t like elevator doors with sensors. No, if you wave your arm between Metro doors to keep them open, bid farewell to that precious arm. The doors will close. Everyone who rides the Metro is aware of this. Even tourists pick up on it fairly quickly. That said, I cannot understand, for the life of me, why people race to those doors to try to beat them. I don’t get it. I don’t get potentially risking your limbs to get on the train. The doors will not release their hold on the Jansport bag belonging to Mr./Ms. I Don’t Care About My Limbs, which is stuck between the doors. (I’ve seen an entire group of people trying to help one person remove their object from the doors. Quite a sight.) Some doors will malfunction completely, causing an off-boarding (removing all of us from the now defunct train) and trapping us at a station until the next train comes, which invalidates the crazy attempt to get on the train in the first place. Ugh. Ugh!
- Um, stinkiness. Enough said.
- At times cramped, uncomfortable, having to look up at the ceiling to avoid staring at the person standing inches, micro inches, from your face…
- Public displays of affection from plenty of amorous couples. Unfortunately, escape is impossible, so my eyes return back toward the ceiling…
- The Metro is by no means the library. Silence is not a requirement. However, the morning commute is traditionally not loud. People are reading their newspapers, still trying to wake up (yours truly), etc. So a raucous conversation with your friend about the crazy night you had the night before…it’s just not cool.
But…sometimes, amid all of the above, we have…
- Alternatively, people do help each other. People give up their seats. People steady other riders who nearly fall over. People attempt to hold the door for mothers with strollers or others who need to get on the train, despite the danger and risk. People stand aside and clear a path for those coming off the train. When the Metro endured a terrible collision last year, I read about the most beautiful acts of heroism and just pure decency. So it exists.
- I watch families smile and laugh with one another. I watch loving, non-crazy PDA couples (thank you) tend to each other; whisper and hold hands; and generally behave in a manner that kind of touches my little cynical heart.
- The men/women in fatigues and camouflage? On their way to the Pentagon? They stand on the train like armed guards. I feel protected.
- Lots of people do say “thank you” and “excuse me.”
- I have a part-time job as a people-watcher. The Metro is a grand employer, as far as that’s concerned. I see all kinds of gems and fascinating moments in human nature, all of which can be creative perks.
- When we’re above ground, I sometimes see the traffic on the street, where a million cars snail towards their respective destinations…and I’m super grateful. By and large, we keeps it moving on the Metro.
- Once in a while, despite all those strangers, someone I actually know sits next to me! Totally and completely awesome when that happens. It’s definitely nice to share the ride with a friend.
Smiles or frowns, such is life. And such is life as a Metro commuter.
I love Michael Bolton’s music. Soul Provider? Please. Kills me everytime.
I watch cheesy Nickelodeon shows for kids. I’ve been watching Nickelodeon since I was a kid. Why stop now?
I follow the royals. All of them. Even the royal families in countries no one ever talks about. They fascinate me. Ugh. Love it.
I don’t care how old he is. He’s…he’s so…he’s just so.
I know that I should stop wishing. This week, my wishes for real snowfall, not these silly dustings we’ve been getting lately, was somewhat acquiesced. Somewhat in the sense that snow did come come, along with sleet, rain, and enough mayhem to paralyze the tri-state area. So, um, my apologies, tri-state area. And no more wishing.
I know that I have wonderful friends. This week has been a bear. With stress at work and not feeling like myself, I was starting to slip a bit down the emotional rabbit hole. Then came friends. Long conversations where I got to release some things off my chest and get some much-needed advice; text messages that I was being thought of; being asked about my day. It was amazing. And hardly surprising. This always happens. I have wonderful friends, and I’m constantly reminded of that fact. I just hope I can be there when they need me. No, I won’t hope: I know I’ll be there.
I know that I’m currently experiencing a bit of writer’s block, but that doesn’t mean failure! I’ll be torturing a few fictional characters in no time!
I know that this will be a short post, because it’s blissfully time to go home.