A subtle, invisible line winds its way down the banks of the Potomac. You first learn about it in high school. “We had to go all the way out to Tysons…I mean, why couldn’t we have just gone to Mazza on Wisconsin Ave.” After college it got reinforced. “I work in Rosslyn *but* it’s walking distance to Georgetown. Third Edition isn’t *that* far away for happy hour.” (Third Edition is now back, in fact. Time to resurrect Samantha’s and Rally in the Alley?) To oblige a late breaking Valentine’s Day party invite I realized I had not been to Virginia in months. Did I need my passport? Would Metro ask to see my visa? What would I discover on this expedition to Terra Virginia Firma?
As a card carrying urbanist, attending an event within a fifteen minute walk of a subway stop meant leaving the four-seater in the garage and taking the chauffeur driven 64 seater (times 6) underground. When the Metro goes fast enough under the Potomac River to Rosslyn, the train drops and rises fast enough that you can feel the pressure change. (This is the captain speaking…Flight Orange now making its final approach into Rosslyn…please pop your ears and take your seats.) The party was a short walk away after emerging in the Old Dominion and it was fun to catch up with old friends (Didn’t I go out with you in 2005?) and make a few new ones too. (Text me your number and we’ll hang out.) Walking back to the Rosslyn departure terminal, my thoughts relaxed about the ride home to downtown DC. My synapses chanted in unison, “nice, quiet, calm…nice, quiet, calm.” After all the socializing and jabbering that being social entails a nice, quite, calm ride awaited. Right? Right! (Bzzzz. Wrong! I’m sorry. X gets the square.)
Peering in to the arriving 11 pmish train as it slowed, my eyes crossed off earlier, calming thoughts. What’s with all the people? Doors open. Lots of activity going on. A cacophony of staccato voices louder than a Friday night at Brasserie Beck all going at once mixed in with a hovering aroma. Axe blended in with Fantasy – vintage 2009, I’d say. (It is a good growing year after all.) Lots of 20-somethings to 40-somethings chatting it up, texting it up and phoning it up – most seats taken up. “Dude…what stop do I get off at? Doooood, Woodley Park is on the red line!?!? I’m on the orange line, du-ude!” (Dude, you’re not going to get hired if every other word you say is dude.)
A strange feeling came over me, inklings of it vaguely familiar. Then, a few memories over the last year kicked in. There were the constraining tube tops, raggedly short jean minis with hoop earrings the circumference of the Earth and constant gum smacking. (Hmm.) There were multiple people constantly checking the Metro map above the senior seating (Hmm.) There were the surprised reactions to dropped calls under the river. (Hmm.) All of it late in the evening.
Casting the feeling aside, our motley crew thundered into Metro Center where I got off and hoofed it to the cozy PQ abode. The usual routine awaited…fob, door, squeaky floor, elevator call button, fob, squeaky floor, floor button, funny feeling (oh..we’re going up!), carpeted floor, apartment key, apartment, bedroom, bed, rest…at last. I flipped on SNL and that’s when my brain pulled the evening apart and reassembled it in one deft motion. The outline of a shadowy, hazy notion became more recognizable and snapped into focus as the eureka moment arrived.
Does DC now have a quantified, certified, bonafide bridge and tunnel crowd?