Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Strangers I Pass

One of the neat things about living in a city is the tons of people we walk by on a daily basis. Maybe it’s because I’m an Ohioan who never leaves Midwestern mentality, maybe it’s because people just generally like to talk, but I have met some fascinating people while going from place to place in D.C, and everybody has a story to share no matter how brief our conversation is.

The married couple I met on the Metro heading to visit a friend near Friendship Heights. She worked for a radio company in Chicago, he was apartment hunting for a required year-long internship he had to do for his Ph.D. in psychology that would be in D.C. The lady riding the metro with me toward work. Her cousin taught at the law school I will be attending in the fall. Swapping LSAT prep horror and success stories with a recent graduate at New York Ave. The Veteran I met while heading to a meeting who served thirty years in the navy. The woman I met on the way to church who walked from her house in Virginia on weekends, just for the exercise. A gentleman heading to Union Station to pick-up his fiancé from the train. The mom with her kid playing in the park outside of where I go for Bible study. The guy who asked the three of us interns at my placement for a favor, which turned out to be to smile. (We laughed uncontrollably for the rest of the walk to the bus stop.) The cashier who was having a horrible day, but was laughing by the time my roommate and I finished checking out. (It took awhile. We spent so much time at the counter, I should probably add her to the Christmas card list.) Other interns I’ve met so many times on the elevator that I can piece together bits of who they are. The regulars on bus 80 in the afternoons. I have met people who have been here anywhere between one week and eighty-six years.

The little snapshots into people’s lives not only make walking and public transportation more entertaining, but it makes D.C. feel more like a Midwest city. As some strangers become more regular passers-by, I am lucky to share life with them, something I wasn’t really anticipating when I first came here. The South Hall janitorial staff. After five weeks of being here, I have come to learn about their families and their hobbies. And from the stories from my personal favorite of his cross-country trips with his amazing bowling team to laughing with a worker about the prank calls a D.C. morning radio show was broadcasting as I waited for my crew in the lobby, I have come to find the unplanned, but natural, interpersonal communications my favorite part of the day.

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