Thursday, July 3, 2008

metro people watching

i've taken to reading more often while waiting around at metro stations and other public-type places. lots of locals do it; when in rome...

anyhow, that brought me to my people watching today. as the blue line pulled up at rosslyn today, i shut my book. (i'm rarely blessed with the ability to read in moving vehicles. if i get a seat, sometimes. reading a book is easier than reading the paper.) as the horde stirred with the trains arrival, i caught a young 20-something sneaking a glance at my book choice. she quickly averted her eyes and resumed reading her book, which happened to be one i read in the fall, ecology of a cracker childhood. i wonder what went through her head. i wonder what goes through everyone's head, especially the readers, as they take stock of what their fellow riders are reading at the station or on the train. "hey, i read that." "hmm, she's really into that book." "she clearly bought that at the checkout line." "he's cute and smart. how should i get his attention?"

i discovered this week on the train that there are several types of people during rush hour. presuming there are very few tourists at this time of day, i'll say that they all work in the city. first are the readers. magazines, books, newspapers, work papers. there's the sleepers. these folks just plain pass out as soon as they're on the train. they wake up at the terminus of the line, look around confused, and stumble out of the station. folks like these are pretty common early in the morning too; those are a different breed though. they worked the night shift and ride the train because it's air conditioned and no one bothers them. somehow, they manage to get off at the right stop too. there's the texters, who don't let their thumbs rest at all. this is the common species of the breed. the more ubiquitous (at least in this city) are the blackberry addicts. their eyes forever scanning their inbox, their smartphone never makes it to the hip holster for the hour commute. the zoned-out ipod junkies tune out the rest of the world, bobbing their heads and staring at the screen. those are the most obvious.

all others seem to nervously watch each station and each person as if they're on a train with degenerates and miscreants. very rarely do i see people interacting with one another. eastbound trains tend to have more of this. of all the random strangers that i've talked to on the train, they've all been super nice and very few of them have been anything like me.

it's been a while. damn, i love this city!

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