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Lemon yellow sun, arms stretched in a V

July 13, 2006

I spoke on the Metro today.

It’s true.

I spoke to a stranger during my morning commute. Do not be alarmed! The metro train did not explode, nor did our commute suddenly come to a screeching halt (well, no more than usual anyway). It turns out that nothing really extraordinary happens if you speak on the Metro trains, other than garnering wishes for a good morning, perhaps even being alerted to an interesting newspaper article you might have otherwise missed. Really. I am not lying.

It all started when I boarded as I normally do, that is bag flapping, WaPo Express flying while running toward the closing doors. As I collected myself and moved toward the center of the car, like the good girl I am, an olderish gentleman offered me the seat next to him. Usually I decline such offers, being able-bodied and with only a handful of stops before my exit, but I was hot from the walk to the station and a seat actually sounded wonderful. So after a second’s hesitation, I took him up on his offer.

Eyeing my Express, he says “I read better sitting down anyway”.

At first I did not know what to do. I imagined what other commuters would do in this situation. Do I stare at him blankly? Pretend I don’t hear? Scoff at him quietly and pull out my iPod? Instead I answered, “Actually, I can’t read sitting down, I get car sick”.

[Moving to the side] “Well, you better get up then!”

A joke? Or is he serious? Being new to this sort of situation I am unsure. I decide to stay put and offer up a quiet giggle. He grins. I guess I picked the right response.

He returns to his (full-size, 35¢) paper and flips the page. After a few moments he laughs. He looks to me and even though I am digging through my bag for my lip gloss, I see him out of the corner of my eye. He wants to share. He laughs again and this time I look up. The stranger gestures toward a headline in the paper, mumbles something about the topic and says “It’s this paragraph here that’s really funny.” And then he began to read. To me. An excerpt of an interesting article. On the Metro. Before 9am. I am totally serious.

The paragraph was in fact funny, and I responded as such. We spoke a bit about the subject of the article and went back to our silent interests. But the barrier had been broken. As the train lurched along the tracks, more conversation and pleasantries were exchanged. It wasn’t forced or obligatory, but if a sight or a commonality struck either of us as interesting, the thought was shared.

As I gathered my things and performed the I’m-Getting-Off-At-This-Stop Dance, the stranger rose from his seat to allow my exit and wished me a good day. I did the same—and I am alive to tell the tale.

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2006 12:32 pm

    I love this! And yet, I can’t help but want to sing, “Marci has a boyfriend, Marci has a boyfriend!”

  2. July 13, 2006 12:45 pm

    When you get car sick reading is it with the reading material in your lap? I get sick unless I hold it up in front of me.

  3. July 13, 2006 1:00 pm

    HAHA, I have to echo Velvet’s teasing chant. I was going to ask if that counted as the first of 3 dates or what. But, it sounds like he was just a genuinely nice guy who is uninhibited w/conversations w/strangers and luckily you were in receptive mode and took it as a morning pleasantry. Sounds like a great way to start your day.

    I’ll try to stop scowling while driving and actually drive w/my window rolled down and start up conversations about the paper I’m reading on my commute in w/the fellow commuters. Good idea. Thank you for sharing Mishy.

  4. July 13, 2006 1:38 pm

    Great post. A poignant tale for modern times.

  5. July 13, 2006 1:53 pm

    You know I am one of “Those” people who talk to everyone around me when I do ride the metro or get stuck standing in a line somewhere, hell I talk to people everywhere, now I am thinking are they feeling the way you did??? I have met a lot of great people and learned so much from these experiences though and they make my time go by. Glad you had a good morning!!!!

  6. July 13, 2006 5:06 pm

    Velvet – Ha. Because I talked to the stranger, so it counts as a date? As I told Claudette offline yesterday, I purposely left the juice out of the Pajama/ESPN date recap because, well, that’s not my style. I’m like shy and stuff.

    i-66 – Sick no matter where the words appear, as long as I am seated–headlines read over someone’s shoulder, ads. If my eyes catch words and I am sitting down, chances are I’ll get nauseous. If I stand up? No problems. Weird.

    Cluss – OMG, PLEASE open your car window and yell out stories to passing vehicles. I love that idea.

    Wharman – Why, thank you! I’ve not been on the subway in other cities during rush hour. I wonder if the am commutes of all major cities are as quiet as DC’s.

    Harms – I know you are “one of them”…but Metro is notoriously quiet in the morning. In the evenings too, but it’s not quite as bad. I mean even people that KNOW each other don’t speak in the mornings. And I have to admit, I do relish the quiet. But this dude wasn’t obnoxious or overly happy. Just pleasant and normal.

  7. July 13, 2006 5:06 pm

    haha! how cute are you?

  8. July 13, 2006 5:11 pm

    I dunno Sweet, how cute am I? 🙂

  9. July 13, 2006 5:24 pm

    How Sweet is the blog name Sweet? Gives me warm fuzzies… makes me want to talk to strangers.

    She’s pretty damned cute when she’s sweet. (nod)

  10. July 13, 2006 5:39 pm

    and how Sweet is my Lust Representative Torres?

    Talk about warm fuzzies!

  11. July 13, 2006 6:27 pm

    Between random conversations with friendly metro strangers, seeing lights shoot up at you whilst in mid flight, having massage sessions, drinking multiple glasses of vino with your wife, shouting at Sports Center while in PJ’s and in company of cute boy and being called cute and sweet in the past few days, you’re this beaming ray of warmth. Is that all I have to do get the perma-sweet thang going on? I’ll try to reproduce w/variations.

    Me likey the full of goodness vibe that’s going down over here.

  12. July 13, 2006 6:34 pm

    Shit, now I just want to go find you and hug up all on your hot self.

  13. July 13, 2006 6:58 pm

    ((in make-shift Barry White voice))

    Awww yeee, the ladies love the sweet goodness that comes from my mouth

    ((record scratch))

    Wait, that totally sounded dirtier than intended. Honest…

    I love you too. 😉 May that blinding sunshine keep on, keeping on in your life, Sweetums.

  14. July 13, 2006 7:20 pm

    God will surely strike you down, as everyone knows you’re just supposed to silently look at everyone else’s id badges and imagine how cool and important they must be to warrant such a special honor. The only person allowed to speak is the Metro lady – and you must do the exact opposite of whatever she says. It is written…somewhere, I think.

  15. July 14, 2006 10:17 am

    I wanna hug both of you girls!!! 🙂 You two and Sweet are all so cute!!! Not to mention it’s Friday and I am happy as hell!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Happy Happy Joy Joy

  16. July 14, 2006 1:22 pm

    Love this.

    For every 15 crazy people, there is one sane one. You just lucky he was friendly and in a good mood!

    Thanks for sharing.

    And of course you’re adorable!

  17. July 14, 2006 3:16 pm

    That man was the Zodiac Killer.

  18. July 14, 2006 3:55 pm

    Can I just say for the record that Sharkbait’s every 15 crazy people/one sane one comment was comment #16 on this thread?

    What’s she trying to say? 😉

  19. July 14, 2006 4:46 pm

    Wow. And I always thought that someone could spontaneously combust after such a thing, but you didn’t. Yay!

    I still would never do so, but you are a far better person than I.

  20. July 16, 2006 4:53 am

    I applaud you:-)

  21. July 24, 2006 9:34 pm

    I wish I could blog as good as you, but what I can do is give you a nice Guitar Lesson!

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