Route 12, Takoma

…and other routes as well, and other routes as well, and other rooms as well, and other rooms, rooms, rooms, other riddles, too, other riddles, riddles riddles…

And why did I have to get wet today? Why did I have to get other riddles, other riddles, rooms, riddles, mustang, mustang, musTANG TANG TANG! Mustang Sally, mustang sally, rooms, riddles, routes…

[tuneless whistling for several stops]

Minipigs, minipigs, minipigs minipigs…

[sing-song] I’m singing in the rain, I’m singing in the rain, there’s a spiral in my brain, there’s a spiral in my brain, spiral brain, I’m singing a spiral in my brain, there’s a smile in my brain, smile, smile.

Smile!

The middle-aged woman with thick glasses, five-o’clock shadow, and a Wizards jacket exits the bus.

Red Line, 8:30 Tuesday Night

2015-03-17 10.35.04

A middle-aged blond in a black hoodie, navy blue leggings, and scuffed black running shoes sits reading USA Today through her wire-framed glasses, her Coach bag secure on her lap. Her earrings are inch-wide silvery filigree hearts. She smiles at something she reads, a genuine and open expression on her face. The smile fades as she turns the page.

A young woman, Crumb-esque in design, stands at the pole reading her Kindle. Her thick thighs end in black leather ankle boots lined in blood red; her knee-length dress is black lace. She doesn’t smile, though whether from an innately sour nature or a particularly intense choice of reading matter, I cannot tell.

A fresh-faced young businessman boards in Friendship Heights. The leather brief bag in his hand is new, unblemished — he’s not had it for long. A bright blue golf umbrella is slung across his back by a strap, like a young ronin’s katana in a Kurosawa film. He stares blankly at his reflection in the train’s window for the duration of his ride.

At Brentwood a thirtyish black man boards, clad in a fluorescent green t-shirt and vest, with oddly heraldic day-glo orange bands on the cuffs and shoulders. A dirt-smeared cap of the same green cotton covers his hair. He stares at the phone in his left hand, his right holding a plastic grocery sack containing a carton of apple juice and a package of Huggies.

There is something strangely melancholy yet calming about nighttime train platforms. Stripped of the usual anxious crowds rushing about, there’s a quiet sense of emptiness, a caesura between destinations, caught between home and office, the burden of decision lifted away, a brief respite from care.