Seven Words: day 1, the green line
(What is the game of 'seven words'? See this entry for explanations, or to contribute potential words.)
Jeff and I sat turned in our seats, angling backward to better hear what Andy was saying. Sometimes the rush of the Metro sucks the words out of the speaker's mouth, pulling them out through the cracks in the side doors before they have a chance to reach your ears. In some areas of the green line, you have to work to catch them before the slight vacuum pulls them past your ears, unheard.
Andy had a good bit of fun at my expense the first time he took me on the metro. Having grown up in an area where the total amount of 'public' didn't exceed three hundred humans, mass transit was something I had only seen in television and movies.
Everything was fascinating that first time: the doors, the hideous orange carpet, the urban landscape unrolling on each side of the train car. The other occupants of our four-car train stared outside with the blasé annoyance of those who are seeing the same landscape for the fortieth time; my eyes were hungry and they gulped everything they saw.
Tonight, we were on our way to an NHL game. For Heather and Andy, a not-terribly-unusual occurrence, as they both like hockey. Since we live a good drive away from the nearest NHL team, game attendance was slightly more unusual for me. For Jeff, it was his first hockey game.
As we made our way south, from the top of the green line, we gossiped. I realized that Heather and Andy had picked up the 'couples' habit of completing each other's sentences. Brian and Suzan do it, as do Jeff and I, but familiarity makes it no less funny when you hear two of your friends do it for the first time.
Heather: "We saw something on the news a while back about how some unnamed mass transit organizations were going to be testing out biological and chemical sensors in case of a terror attack…"
She looked at Andy, who picked up the sentence and finished it: "…and then in the background you heard [here he mimicked sounds we'd just heard] 'bing! bong! Doors closing!' and we looked at each other and said, 'Oh, dear. We know where they're testing that system.'"
Bio- and chem-terror is more of a reality for them than it is for us; they live and work in the nation's capital, which, on the list of things that Terrorists Would Love To Bomb To Bits, is up there (along with any available national monument or state park). The soothing placidity of living in Huntsville, Alabama gets a lot less placid when you begin to realize that D.C. is filled with policy wonks, lobbyists, lawyers... and several people whom you care a good deal about.
* * * *
My reasons for visiting D.C. always have much more to do with friends and food/yarn/IKEA shopping than they do with anything related to the federal government or the museums and monuments they have created. On the last full night we were there, I took a solo metro ride into the city to catch a screening of Pedro Almodóvar's Hable con ella (Talk To Her).
I stood by the door, swaying with the movement of the train, staring at the multicolored-spaghetti of the metro map, plotting the quickest route to the movie theatre. The bells rang, and the doors opened. I darted out, walked the escalator, and caught the red line to Dupont Circle, sliding between the doors of the train and pulling my coat in right as the chime announced the closing of the red-line train's doors.
When they chimed to announce Dupont Circle, I all but ran out of the train station, stopping only to shove my farecard through the machine. I hiked up the enormous escalator to street level, and angered the ticket-taker by buying an $8 ticket with a $20 when he was wanting to hoard his $1 bills. I opened my wallet and flashed him the change section, showing him the $20 and the lone $1 I carried in it. He grumbled, but gave me my change anyway.
I made it into the movie theatre with three minutes to spare.
* * * *
Jeff was unimpressed with NHL hockey, but admittedly, it was a terrible game. I still have a farecard with a couple of dollars on it; I should mail it to Andy or Heather, who will actually use it instead of letting it languish in their wallet, as I will. I could have mailed it this morning, when I went to the post office, but I once again conveniently managed to forget.
Many things remind me of Washington, D.C.; Noro yarn, blue crab, and Russian food markets come to mind. Almost all of them can be seen, heard, or experienced somewhere else—except the chime of the Metro.
If that doesn't qualify for tintinnabulation, I don't know what does.
Today's word was tintinnabulation (the ringing or sounding of bells), suggested by Noah Grey. Check in tomorrow for tomorrow's verbal exercise; who knows, maybe I'll use 'mucilaginous' after all.