Like many daily metro riders, I stand in the same spot on the platform around the same time every morning and every evening. On this day, I hopped on the metro around 8:20 am and sat in an open seat next to a guy wearing jeans and listening to his ipod.
I peeled open my Washington Post Express and flipped my hair to to one side of my head in attempt to cool the other side and also to create barrier of hair between us. I do not do this to be rude, rather, I am typically very sweaty on my morning commute due to a 20 minute walk to the metro and I use my hair to hide the beads of sweat streaming down my face.
Overall, the ride was uneventful and typical. Most days I do not sit in a seat on my short metro ride, but some days I do. This was one of those days.
The day progressed slowly. This is probably because I was traveling after work and planned on leaving the office a little earlier than usual. I watched the clock until 4:30pm and could take no more—I was getting out of there.
Six minutes later, I finished my descent into the metro station, focused my eyes on the train times and fumbled for my Smartrip Card. According to the list, I had one minute until the next train but a gust of metro tunnel wind prompted me to do something I NEVER do—run for a train.
I was right to run. The train came in faster than I originally expected and there was no way I would be able to clear my favorite spot on the platform.
Just as I heard the final “doors closing” bells, I leapt on to a car closest to the escalator. My first thought was, I really hope this is an Orange Line train and not a Blue. The second was, why are all these people in my way? It was true, though, pushing through the initial crowd revealed a near-empty car with plenty of seats. I plopped down in one, huffed and puffed a bit and then proceeded to establish my hair barrier because my commute home is equally as sweaty as my commute to work.
About a minute passed before the guy sitting next to me said, “Excuse me?”
I peaked out from behind my hair barrier to respond,“Yes?”
“Hi, this is really weird, but I’m pretty sure you sat next to me on the metro this morning.”
I look at his jeans, color of his headphones, and then I thought, “I didn’t exactly study his face but I did catch a quick glimpse of him. Holy crap, this guy is right!”
The next 10 minutes were full of, “this is crazy,” “this is really crazy,” ” I can’t believe how crazy this is.”
There are many people I end up recognizing on the metro during my morning and evening commutes, but never to this level. It was especially unique because I left the office unusually early and jumped on a metro car so far from my daily platform spot.
We quickly exchanged names and abbreviated backgrounds and discovered we had a few things in common. It was a brief, yet fulfilling and natural conversation, one without expectations or an end goal. It was the complete opposite of most first-time introductions I’ve experienced in DC. It felt good to meet, interact and connect with someone completely new and outside of my established social fabric.
At my stop, we shook hands and I walked off the metro car feeling appreciative of this guy’s memory and even more appreciative he alerted me to the beautiful coincidence.