Monday, October 15, 2012

No Friends, All Strangers – Lucy Honig

If you’ve had the chance to ride in a train, subway, trolley or crowded bus, this little short could bring some memories back of your time spent traveling on that mode of mass transit.
I have been lucky enough to experience this –in other countries and in conditions that I could have never imagined myself. 
The last time I had the chance to sit on a subway, to look at my fellow commuters, was several months ago.  I was on a day trip up to DC.  I was there to interview and I decided that it would be smarter to park in northern Virginia and make the trip into the District via train/subway. 
It was a good choice, landing me right in the heart of DC with plenty of time before my interview.  I was able to ride the train for a good 45 minutes observing my fellow travelers and of course making stories up for selected people that caught my interest. 
I have no doubt that there could have been a couple that looked back at me doing exactly the same. 
I felt good on that train – like I belonged there.  I conveyed that to M as I sat in the subway station eating a banana before the interview. 
The interview went very well, I felt good about how I presented myself, and all sorts of thoughts concerning our future move to this area flooded into my head as I rode the train back to northern Virginia to jump into our car and make my way home. 
But it was not to be.  I received a short 3 sentence email from the HR department of the company I interviewed with and then a couple days after that a somewhat longer (still only one paragraph) email from the supervisor in the department I interviewed for.
But my little 12 hour trip and my ride on the train/subway left its mark – a beautiful one that I won’t forget.  I remember faces.  I remember the beautiful business woman reading a book on her ipad and so lovingly cleaning the screen as her stop approached. 
I remember the men in military uniforms with their various unit patches getting on and off at the Pentagon.  The group of students hustling on with their bags stuffed with books at the Georgetown stop.  Tourists with their bright tie-dyed t-shirts and fanny packs sun burnt cheeks and thick middles – comfortable walking shoes and freckled forearms – all getting off near the Capitol building.
 Another beautiful woman, pale skin with a shadow cast across her face from a large floppy hat, whispery thin white fabric dress, not doing anything at all to conceal the shape of her body – the dress no doubt selected not only for its comfort on a hot day, but also because it did show off her body.  
All of these people caught my eye and left enough of an impression that I can call them up in my memory today.
When I lived in Romania, travel between cities was done by train, car and bus.  We/I would wait on the outskirts of town for a car that was going in my direction and I would attempt to catch the driver’s attention as they sped down the road out of town.  If they had a seat or two, we would jump in and pay the driver enough to cover gas at the end of our trip.  We would meet some interesting characters- and by the end of the trip there really wasn’t much left to image about our companions or driver. 
When fate had us jumping onto a bus that traveled between the smaller cities, we were transported from rural Romania to a cramped 30 year old Soviet autobus that had somehow been transported to India…meaning that we were stuffed in there with chickens, sheep, luggage, instruments, kitchen and construction supplies, raw meat, cooked meat GARLIC and the lovely breath of countless individuals who didn’t feel the need to brush their teeth or use deodorant…and it was lovely.
One thing that this story reminded me to do, is something that I think I have forgotten – something that is important to a person that needs to be creative, something that will be fun to pass on to W. 
I need to start using my imagination more – to tap into the creative side that I once had.  I’m feeling a new surge of this energy could be coming on.  I welcome it and will try to exploit it.

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