People Watching on the Blue Line

1 Mar 2016 admin duties



You know I have realized even the mundane job of getting to work everyday on the metro to downtown dc can be the highlight of your day. I was really nervous for my first ride in the metro. You know, you think of all the crazy things that could happen to you on your first day to work, like the train gets late, is too crowded, or worse, you are standing on the other side of the platform so you see the train leave right before your eyes, and all you can do is panic silently; too conscious to display your misery amongst these strangers besides you in the most impressive suits and heels you’ve seen. And then you assume the trains are going to be like the subways in NYC and that scares the crap of out you- so many routes, so many stops, people like swarming bees everywhere, and there you are, so easy to get swallowed by this sea of humans, too white-collar or too proletarian for you to handle.

But the good news was, the metros to dc were nothing like that! Once I was in there, I had a hard time putting my eyes down. I am a people observer. I love watching people and making stories in my head about them, occasionally looking at the brands of shoes and handbags the pretty women are carrying, or pry into the cover of the book that old man is reading up there, or eyeing someone cute whether they have a ring on their finger, yada yada. Don’t get me wrong, I am just the curious type! These people who I will probably never meet again in my life, have so much influence on me at that very moment. SO much so I think of them when I write hours and days later. 

So, you see a variety of people at 7 am to DC. There are the young professionals, all suited up with briefcases in their one hand, and phone or tablet in the other; lost in the world of the book they are reading or just using their 4G LTE data on their phone, oblivious to anything around them. Then there are the beautiful, young professionals who travel in packs, and are always chatting about their dinner last night, or ‘that’ boss of theirs who always gives away her credit card information loudly on the phone, or discussing about the crazy weekend party they all went to. Then they complain about how they missed workout last night because they went grocery shopping and spent three hours in it, and you are thinking to yourself how those legs can look so toned. Their makeup is on fleek, hair is perfectly curled and they have the biggest rock sparkling in those slender fingers, occasionally catching your eye when they flick their hair or look at their watch. These ‘ladies’ always keep me entertained, whether it’s their blonde talk beginning with “ ..so I was with this guy last night…” or “ Oh I missed the Game of Thrones last night, don’t tell me..” or what. Well.

And there are the students, with heavy book bags, some writing furiously on something that looks like an assignment they had forgotten about, or some have Drake blasting out of their headphones, so loud that even five people ahead of them can hear “Hotline Bling”playing, but they are snoozing with their heads against the window so they couldn’t care less. And of course there are those who are very keen about the seats because they have a ‘project’ to accomplish-the task being getting your eyeliner done, the right shade on the eyes, making sure the blush is not too much or too little, all using this tiny pocket mirror they so meticulously hold on to. It is an adventure to see all this, you don’t know one abrupt stop, and the liner brush may go way over the eyes, or one of the sleeping beauties get awoken by a nasty bump in the head. Speaking of seats, I was one of those who eyed a seat from one end of the car to the other, desperate to get one so that I can just rest my lunch bag on the floor, read comfortably without being pushed or hit by somebody. But when you are on the blue line to dc, people actually look around and offer you the seat before they sink in. I was embarrassed that I ran like crazy once the door opened to get that One vacant seat, whereas the young lady in front me stood up so graciously to give her seat up for this old man. Eleven months of metroing, and I can proudly say that I no longer run for the coveted seat, I just idly stand and take my phone or book out, heedless of any empty seat near me. 

The most adorable thing you can see on the metro is old couples holding hands, mostly tourists, who are trying to look at every stop and make sure they don’t miss their stop. They are not the techno savvy kind so they look at the only map hung on the wall, trying to hold on to their seat while they read the tiny fonts, too strenuous for their aged eyes. But when they finally get to their stop, the man holds his woman’s hand, and guides her out of the train, amongst the crowd of all these youngsters who impatiently try to get through quickly. And once they are out, the struggle to turn left or right is evident, but at least they have each other. Aww it’s such a sight. I almost drop a tear or two. Long live old love.

And then there are the kids, the tourists who come on school trips, or with parents, and are incredibly excited to see the White House, or go to the Spacecraft museum and you can hear all their enthusiasm in their loud jabber, chiming in about how many stops away they are from their destination, all wearing I love DC hoodies and tshirts. The otherwise pindrop silent train all of a sudden comes to life, when these young minds are asking the quiet man in the suit where they should stop to go to the Monument, or they are doing their count offs so they don’t miss anybody. And once they all offload, the train becomes silent again, the same monotonous atmosphere where the only time you hear people is when they say “ excuse me”, or “is this your stop?” or worse “ can we please move towards the center we are getting crushed here” when the train is overloaded in the rush hour and people start getting nasty ( which surprisingly is not very often)

So, next time you are on metro in dc, if your phone loses signal underground, or you forget your tablet at home; you can enjoy watching Asian women chitchatting, or professional men in suits with a stroller and a cute baby (what a view really!), or just random men dancing to their head phones, or silent students cramming for their final, I can vouch that you won’t die of boredom. When you hear the train reach the first stop in dc and the operator says “ welcome to dc, your nation’s capital”, you know there is plenty to see from the windows of the blue line.