Friday, May 07, 2004

Culture Shock

So I took the Metro into DC today to take care of some adoption paperwork. I haven't been on the Metro in a long time and I haven't used it more than a handful of times anyway. First of all, I forgot how long the walk is across the parking lot when you arrive there after rush hour. I also forgot how wiggly my stomach gets when the train starts to move. Then we went into a tunnel and I remembered my claustrophobia. And I can't forget this (because it's pretty funny) - we approached the Judiciary Square station where I needed to get out and the conductor announced the doors would be opening on the right. So I got up and stood by the right-side doors. Unfortunately for me, I was sitting in one of those "backwards" seats, so I was actually standing by the left-side doors, all alone and not realizing that I was at the wrong place. I heard the other doors open, looked behind me and saw people exiting the other side of the train. D'oh! After following them out of the train, I realized that had I actually looked through the door that I was initially in front of, I would've seen that outside the door I was trying to exit was a concrete wall! Hopefully I at least gave a few people left on the train a chuckle.

Lots of the Metro ride was outside, not in tunnels, so I got to see areas of metro-DC that I don't usually see. We went by some parks with playgrounds and ballfields and by a number of warehouse-type businesses. I saw a lot of graffiti and some houses that didn't look anywhere near in the condition that the houses where I live are in. I peered through the train window feeling like such an outsider or spectator, like I was on a monorail at the zoo. I started to feel guilty that I don't experience that lifestyle on a more regular basis, but then I wondered whether there aren't advantages to the "sheltered" life that I seem to lead. By not seeing that everyday, it really struck me when I did see it and it moved my soul. Not that I wanted to go out on a missions trip or something, but just that I thought it interesting to see a different way of life and a different set of people than I interact with regularly and my mind felt instantly expanded. If I saw that every day, would I stop paying attention to it? However... my mind would still be expanded, it would just stay that way instead of instantly popping open on occasion. Hmm.. I think a permanently expanded mind is better after all.

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