Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We Be Jammin' - A Subway Musical

I was in Washington DC taking a five-day course at NDU. One of the days was to be spent going to a computer symposium in the center of the city. If you've ever been to DC, you know that the best way to get in and out of the center of the city is by the Metro. So, I took off early Tuesday morning and headed downtown using the Metro. I bought my ticket and stood on the platform waiting to get on the first train that was going to take me to Metro Center, while I waited I took my iTouch out of my shoulder bag and plugged in my earbuds and put them on. I flipped on the music and was instantly transported somewhere far away from the subway station. I had learned long ago that one of the ways to make the Metro ride more enjoyable was to bring your own music.

I caught the Blue Line train and all was well until we got to the station at Foggy Bottom I thought I heard the conductor say something about the Blue Line terminating – – I was supposed to ride this train all the way to Metro Center. Since it looked like everyone was getting off I jumped off as well rather than riding a train to wherever they go when the terminate (Subway Car Heaven?). I figured at worst I would have to wait for the next Blue Line train, which would be along in about 10 minutes. So while standing on the platform listening to my music I started to do what I normally do.

I find it hard to listen to good music and stand still. I tap my foot, I shake my head in time to the music, I move my hands, and I do just about anything but stand in one place. When the Allman Brothers Ain't Wasting Time No More came on I probably was moving a little more than usual. I was also looking around at all the various people in the station as I did this but suddenly when my I looked forward, I found a young woman of about 20 who was smiling at me. I started to take out my earbuds, but she shook her head and smiled pointing to her own earbuds – – then she held up the plug that was attached to the earbuds. I had to think about this for a minute, as I had never had anyone do anything like this.

I reached in my pocket, took out my iTouch, and held it out in front of me. I was holding on to it tightly because I still was not sure what was going on here and thought this might of been a ruse to steal my iTouch. She smiled and nodded and then removed my plug from the jack and slid hers in. Her eyes darted around the little and then they started nodding her head up and down, I can only guess in time with the music. She smiled again, took the plug for my earbuds, and plugged it into her iPod, which she removed from her pocket. It took a minute for me to recognize what kind of music it was – – some sort of techno dance number. When I looked at her, she smiled at me again and nodded her head – – I think it was her way of asking if it was okay with me. It wasn't bad so I nodded back. Then we stood there – – facing each other – – and enjoying each other's music.

She was doing a small impromptu dance to the Allman Brothers while I was kind of nodding along with whatever it was I was listening to. Suddenly the station filled with the sound of the arriving Orange Line train and she stopped dancing looked at me and smiled and waved as she pulled my jack out of her iPod and put it back into my iTouch then spun around and walked aboard the train. As the train started to pull out, she pressed her face to the glass and waved goodbye to me.

As I have said, I always try to say Yes to things – maybe that creates an aura of openness around me. It was just so unusual and so human to reach out the way she did and then she knocked down the walls of my fortress and invited me into hers so that we could share a few minutes together as human beings listening to music. As I reflected on this later in the day I wondered if I would ever be bold enough to do something like that to anyone.

When my train finally came along, I jumped on board and held onto the handrail as it pulled out of the station. I smiled about what just occurred to me in fact, I smiled a lot of the day because of it.


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