Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Writer's Lament

I missed out on the greatest transit-related "scoop" today riding the 43 to Shady Grove Metro Station. And at fault was the same device that keeps me out of trouble: my headphones.

Earbuds are great because it covers the whirrling, whistling, and screeching of the bus or train. It blocks out the dangerous and disconcerting rattling. It deafens the fights, the yelling, cajoling, and bothersome communication from your fellow riders. Some conversations are better left unheard.

Except today. Sitting in the back of the bus as the vehicle hurtled toward its final stop I heard the tail end of what was, in all likelihood, a magnificent conversation about living, working, and commuting in Washington, DC from the perspectives of two immigrants. Except I missed the perspectives. I saw the nodding, the agreeing, the laughter. I saw the handshakes, the smiling, the knowing expressions, the, "I totally understand you," body language. But I missed the middle, only hearing, "Oh, really? I'm from Nigeria."

I don't even know what the other country was, only that it was also in Africa.
And with that, the bus hurtled to its stop and we exited the bus to catch connecting buses, the Metro, and the 991 to Frederick.

I am, of course, very dissapointed in myself. What could I have gleamed from this? At the very least, I've argued this evening, a great post. My rides on the 43 are usually silent, so there's little hope for "better luck next time."

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