Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Imaginary Friends

I've now been doing my daily commute long enough that I'm starting to see some of the same familiar faces each day. Most of them friendly. Some of them not. And some of them....well....they are the unsolved mysteries of my daily travels. It's those fine folks I'd like to tell you about today.

Note: This is not a profound post. I'm watching the Olympics while I write this. I'm obsessed with the Olympics. OBSESSED. I think writing this post will help me from screaming at the television and pretending like I know things about beach volleyball or gymnastics or rowing. Don't even get me started on swimming. An Olympics post will probably be happening soon. Until then...
If you've ever played that game where you make up back-stories for people, then you would love the characters on my commute. If you've never played that game, then you've clearly not waited in an airport for any extended period of time. That's the best place to play. I typically like to give people troubled back stories with futures full of perseverance and hope. Or, if I'm feeling creatively lazy, then I like to guess what they just ate.

My morning commute is no Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, but there are certainly some interesting people. Here are a select few of my favorite characters from my daily commute. 

1. Couple Who's Always Late

For the last week or so, every time I get off the Metro train and begin my walk to the office, I'm almost plowed down by a couple holding hands and running as fast as they can. They are always dressed in work clothes and have frantic looks on their faces. The first time it happened I thought, "They're being chased by bad guys!" (Because that's the logical option). But I saw no one running after them.

Then, the second day, they were doing it again. That's when I realized, they must just be late for the train. (Again, it's sad that this was not my first thought. But you didn't see their scared faces.) Sure, it happens, I get it. You want to make the train.

Yes, it happens. But, it doesn't happen six days in a row. Fool me once, alarm clock, shame on you. Fool me twice, get a new a clock. 

The thing I find most strange is not that they are always late (or whatever the reason is for the frantic running), the strangest (and most inconvenient) part of their daily routine, is that they hold hands as they frantically run. Have you ever tried holding hands with someone while running as fast as you can down a sidewalk? There is no way to do it gracefully or without getting in the way of all the on-time folks trying to walk to work.

On more than one occasion, I've had the thought to run towards them, break through their hands and yell, "RED ROVER RED ROVER SENT LINDSAY RIGHT OVER."

I've now become used to their running. In fact, if I'm feeling stressed, it actually makes me feel better because I think, "At least I'm not in their shoes."

2. The Man With The Briefcase

This is not an unsolved mystery. I have solved this one. And my "back story" couldn't have been more wrong.

So, every evening, if I leave at 6:00p.m. I spend my walk to the train next to or in sight of the man with the briefcase. That probably doesn't sound like an oddity in D.C. Let me paint you a verbal picture.

This guy looks exactly like one of the guys who tries to take out Matt Damon in the Bourne movies. He's super muscley, eerily quiet, and he carries a silver metal briefcase. It's one of those briefcases that's almost always filled with stacks of money or guns. The guy with the briefcase also wears a tank top (some who are politically incorrect may refer to this tank top as a wifebeater) tucked into black jeans with a belt.
His briefcase is bigger than this. 
I am both frightened and intrigued by him. I was 82% sure he was in some sort of foreign mafia. But, the fact that I always see him at the same time indicates that he has a regular job too. I next decided that he owned some kind of bar that served as a front for illegal activities. I think he smuggles "counterfeit technology." I don't know if that is even a thing but I'm preeeetty sure that's what he does. 

He holds that briefcase so tightly that I was certain it was full of guns and money. Imagine my surprise when we're standing on the platform and I see him start to open it. 

This is IT, you guys. I'm about to find out what's in there (or I'm about to be in a real-life Bond movie...Daniel Craig, where are you?).

As he opened the briefcase, I fixed eyes on that gleaming metallic latch, curiosity boiling from within. He opened the latch.....





I swear to you. Snacks. The briefcase was FULL OF SNACKS. There was one file folder, an mp3 player, and snacks.

Silly me and my dramatic imagination. This guy isn't tough. He's just hungry.   

Or is he....

3. The Singer

This character is another runner. I actually hesitate to write about him because I'm not sure he's entirely right in the head. The psychology student in me gets very upset when people make fun of others with mental disabilities. But, I'm probably 74% sure that this guy is just eccentric so I'm going to go with it.

Have you every seen that episode of Friends in which Pheobe runs? Well, you have now:

Yes, he runs like that. But, it's not the running that cracks me up. It's the singing. 

Now, I've been known to get caught up in a song in the gym and catch myself singing aloud. It's always when the most embarrassing guilty pleasure songs are on too. Like, the time Spice Girls came on. (I say "time" like it was only once.) 

Have you listened to Spice Girls' Wannabe lately? You may think you won't remember the words but you WILL. And you will sing them. Under your breath but still aloud. By the time you realize you're doing it, it's been going on too long for you to look around and pull the whole "Oh man, who was that? Who was singing? Geez, what a tool."

This 70-year-old "Phoebe-runner" on my commute doesn't just get caught up in a song and sing it under his breath. He BELTS it out like he's closing down the bar on karaoke night.

Sometimes there is even fist-pumping while he runs. And, he wears sweatbands on his wrists. 

At first, I thought he was just mentally unstable. But then I saw that he had really expensive running shoes on. (Not to say that that's a sign of sanity) That's when I changed my story. I think he may actually be a very successful man out for pre-work run. His shorts and tank top are straight out of the 80's but his shoes are 2012. My back story on him changes daily. 

I don't think he's crazy. I think he's just clueless of his surroundings. Or, maybe he just doesn't care.

Good for you, sir. 

But the singing. Bless his heart. 

I've seen him about 4 or 5 times now and I still have yet to recognize one of the songs. Between him and the running hand-holding couple, I'm usually just trying to stay out of the way. 

I wonder if anyone is trying to figure me out. They're probably like, "Who's that girl whose face is melting off in the hundred degree weather? I bet she looked presentable at some point today. Poor soul. And why is she always staring at us? Why is she staring at my snacks? Get your own snacks." 


  1. I love you.

    On more than one occasion, I've had the thought to run towards them, break through their hands and yell, "RED ROVER RED ROVER SENT LINDSAY RIGHT OVER."

    Best line ever.