The DC Diaries
Day 1- November 21, 3:30 a.m.
Sleep evades me. It is so quiet and still here on the lounge deck where people lay on the ground, sprawling out wherever they can. I spelt for a few moments but it was not nearly enough. Every blink of the eye feels as if sand is within it. I can’t help but remember the events of today. It was actually somewhat unremarkable. We got on the train to go to the conference in DC at around noon. My telling partner and I met a woman who was very wise and calculated when she spoke about the past in a voice that signified years of smoking. I enjoyed speaking with her right up until we got on the train. It was much more cramped than I expected but still enjoyable as my friend and I talked aimlessly. Joked about coworkers and girls. Things of that simple nature.
We got to Union Station at about 3 pm and we waited in a terminal gate for our next train that would come at around 640.
As you know, I love people watching and this did not disappoint. There were Pennsylvania Dutch men and women that sat not too far away. Their black clothing with just hints of color beneath were interesting. I saw women with blue hair and piercing in their dimples which was actually kind of attractive if I do say so. I loved seeing individuals and meeting people just for a few sentences or a complete conversation. That one moment shared is a treasure to me. How lucky am I to share a few words with this random person, out of everyone in the world I am among a few.
We finally board and I remember the hilarious saying that a woman said at the tiny convenience shop on the main hall: I will put two pieces of bread around her hate and make a sandwich. It cracked me up.
The train is a monolithic superfine and I ascend the small spiral staircase to my seat. This would be home for the next 17 hours.
Time. Time is a terrible thing when you dode over it. Which is what I have done, what I do. I nodded off for an hour or so but that was all. Now I am in that awkward twilight phase when I am not sure if sleep is worth it. Maybe I should just read and wait until the sun rises in an hour or two.
Only time will tell.
DAY 3 November 24, Midnight
My trip comes to an end as I sit here on this train with all of these sleeping bodies around me. The weekend was full of panels of people saying the mosþ interesting things. I was fascinated by the research thaþ is out there and how illuminating it was. There was something I realized though, I am not a creature that likes to mingle. I love having long conversations with friends and enjoying talks about existentialism, women, and other things of lesserorgreaterimportance. However, there are those conversations in a room full of people, static voices around you that drown out your own thoughts, this place is where you are supposed to go up to people and begin inane chatter about this or that and then move on to the next person when you realize you just don’t have much in common. I stood there with my friends in that room full of people and the two nights prior had caught up to me. Nights soaked in alcohol and beer, laughing and dancing; it was beautiful and perfect and exhausting. I drank the rest of my 7 dollar bottle of Sam Adam’s Boston Lager and made leave. I did not say good bye to everyone because, honestly, I knew I would see them soon. I went down the large escalator and out into the cold night.
I used my phone as a GPS and decided to walk back to the hotel. The sky was beautiful and clear that night. Stardust was visible as I began the three mile hike that put an end to my trip. The buildings towered over me. Monoliths lit up in the darkened sky by orange city loghts and car headlights that made their shadows move as if by themselves.
It was quiet for the first time in days. I walked over the bridge where stone lions guarded the entry way and I noticed clouds began rolling in. I walked beneath large scaffolding and when I came out, I came to a stoplight where I waited for the orange hand to turn into the white walking man. Then, I felt something cold hit my face, a speck of icy coolness. I looked up and it had begun to snow. It was somewhat refreshing to know that these white specks falling down signaled the end of the fall.
We left the next day and I must admit that I grew from the experience where my naïve nature was put to the test. I learned of the holocaust and those that suffered, I learned of good beer, better friends, and the simple, yawning quiet that befalls a city at night, even if for a moment.