I rode the metro with an astronaut yesterday--at least I think he was an astronaut. He was wearing a flight suit, and the patch on his arm had a little shuttle in front of an Earth. He exited at the Pentagon stop. Yes, I'm sure he was an astronaut. Otherwise that helmet would have been pointless.
I stopped by a lake today on my way home from lunch. I thought, "Just what I need--a serene lake." So I walked to the shore and sat on a picnic bench and went looking for "the Serene." Oh, I found it. Don't think I'm going to say it wasn't there, that this whole trip was for nothing. No, no. I thought that at first, too--as I sat there staring at the lake. "This doesn't 'do it' for me," I thought. "It's water. I get more excited when it comes from my faucet." The guy at the bench next to me seemed to like it, though. He had his hands behind his head in a very satisfied manner. He stared at the water with a vague smile. He found the Serene in the lake, in its undulating splashes on the shore below. Well, at least I think he did. Granted I never asked him. He might have been as bored as I was, just sitting there thinking about the hot girl in the biking shorts that just rode by. He noticed her. You couldn't convince me that he didn't. His smile did change, though, when a speed boat went by. It went from vague to vanished. His hands went down to his lap and he slowly got up to leave. I think. I wasn't staring any more because I was too busy drooling over this boat. It must have been going 50, 60 thousands miles per hour. "You don't know." I wanted to meet that guy, the owner, and convince him to share his vessel. I wanted to cut through the water and disturb those ridiculous-looking birds--the ones with the really thin beak and flat head. I wanted to relate with the person who looked at this lake or whatever body of water it was and said, "Your waves are pathetic." And so, you see, I did find the Serene. It just had more horsepower that I was expecting.
I was walking up the escalator yesterday, because that's what people do in DC even when they're 30 minutes early for work, and I passed a crazy woman entering the metro. I know she was crazy because she was wearing a silver dress, loads of eye shadow, and not much else while singing at the top of her lungs--something about her uncle. And since this wasn't college, I could certify her insane. Here's the thing. I might have been the only person who noticed her. Again, that's what people do in DC; they actively donotnotice things. Most city dwellers are similar, I imagine--from New York to Chicago to Dallas to LA. There's so much crazy that if you took time to notice it all you'd waste those 30 minutes and end up being late.
I will ride the metro again next week--to and from work, five days a week--and if I see that astronaut again I think I'll introduce myself. Or how about this: I'll at least say good morning to the person who sits next to me--especially if that person is an astronaut. Or a speed-boater. Or a crazy, singing, silver-dress-wearing psychopath. Or that girl from the bike path.
Especially if it's that girl from the bike path.