Before I left for D.C., I was told it had one of the best transit systems in the country. They don't allow any food, drink or smoking in their Metro stations, which keeps things clean. I know this photo is fuzzy, but here you can see how many folks commute during the 5 o'clock rush hour on the Metrorail. This was taken at Metro Center, where three separate lines meet.
Early in our trip, my traveling buddy, KM, had seen a homeless man scouring the trash for food. I had literally overlooked him, having reverted back to my "city ways." I learned growing up on the outskirts of Houston that you don't engage the bums - no eye contact, no looks of pity, no offerings of help. KM felt horribly sad for his plight and amazed that he would actually eat leftovers from the trash. My response must have seemed harsh: "Don't give him any money, because he'll just buy booze with it."
During our walk to the hotel each evening, KM would point out these poor souls as they bedded down. The impressions of their bodies would remain visible in the grass each morning. One indigent fellow changed her perspective, however, as we boarded the Metro on our way to a mall in Pentagon City one evening. While waiting for the Metro to leave, we hear loud expletives. Every other word is the f-bomb or some maternal variation thereof. Luckily for us, the offender boards our car...spilling the contents of his trash bags all over the floor - RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. I play nonchalant - looking straight ahead, emotionless. KM's eyes widen, and she whispers, "We need to get off NOW."
As batteries, vials of liquid and cigar tips roll around near our feet, F-Bomber is still cursing a blue-streak, interjecting the statement, "DON'T YOU BE LOOKIN' AT MY M*****-F***IN' BATTERIES!! YOU WANNA F***IN' START SOMETHIN'? I'LL START SOMETHIN' RIGHT THE F*** HERE, M***** F***ER!!" I'm still playing it cool, as the train pulls away and F-Bomber decides to return to our area of the car to retrieve his m*****-f***in' batteries that KM is DEFINITELY not looking at. She and I both are statues as he bends down to pick them up, giving us a final "DON'T YOU BE LOOKING AT MY M*****-F***IN' BATTERIES!!" before returning to his seat. KM is whispering that WE NEED TO GET OFF AT THE NEXT STOP, and I'm trying to convince her to play it cool - as I'm realizing that F-Bomber is not really talking to anyone but the voices in his head. The screaming expletives are continuous, and I faintly hear the sound of the Metro driver call for Metro Police to meet us at the next station. As we are about to stop, KM jumps up, ready to bolt the second the doors open. I notice two other passengers ready to exit, and watch as they simply get off the car and onto the adjacent car to continue their trip. We follow suit, and sit where we are facing the car containing F-Bomber. KM is concerned that he will see us, realize we avoided him, and come back there to finish us off. We both notice a poor young girl, seated right in front of F-Bomber, still enduring the expletive rant that is also audible in OUR car. Of course, we reach our destination, and F-Bomber gets off as well. Luckily, Metro Police have been observing him, and detain him for a quick search and questioning. I'm not sure what they did with this man - after all, do they really have jails full of guys like this? Probably not.
The next day, KM seems relieved that we have lived thru the experience and is actually hoping for another glimpse of F-Bomber. We never did run into him again, but did see this lovely creature outside Union Station, pictured above. (I didn't take these photos of bums - that's another rule of mine.)
And, don't be lookin' at my m*****-f***in' batteries.