Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Have Been There


When one of my news alert services informed me of the Washington, DC Metro wreck I had to stop what I was doing on line and scope out the breaking news. I have ridden the DC Metro. I think I have stood on the platform at the very station pictured here. The wreck was in the open, however. A wreck in a tunnel would be really, really horrible.

Riding the metro at rush hour is a bit of a Twilight Zone experience if I may say so. My then husband and I were staying at his brother's house in Alexandria and taking the metro in to visit our congressmen and play tourist. We got an early start most days and wound up on the train with the regulars. It was like a scene from the Clone Wars. Everyone was dressed alike in three piece black pinstripe suits (even the women) and all carrying I could swear the exact same brief case.

All of them had this thousand mile stare my father used to talk about on the brink of a bombing mission in World War II. There was one woman dressed in a stark red coat one day we road the train. She stood out dramatically and yet she could have been a ghost because nobody looked at her but us.

Nobody talked to each other and this was in the days before text messaging on your Blackberry. I found it interesting that one of the survivors of the wreck yesterday mentioned that when she felt the bump she immediately begin to text message that to a friend. Life as observers. We all seem to distance ourselves from the experience: cannot describe it in more than 140 characters on Twitter.

We really ought to participate in our lives more. I had the opportunity once to fly on a Leer jet with a pilot friend taking his final cross countries. As we came into Sun Valley, Utah the turbulence above the mountains threw the light jet around. My first impulse was to close my eyes against the possible crash. And then I thought that if this is my last 10 seconds alive I want to enjoy every moment and opened my eyes to watch the shifting horizon.

I don't think I will bother texting. I might miss something important.

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