As I sat on the subway in Washington, D.C., heading from dinner to a yoga studio for a kirtan, the woman in front of me took off her business shirt revealing a workout halter top. She traded the shirt for red yarn and knitting needles in her bag. Quietly, she spun the thread between her Millennial fingers with ear buds tucked in. The world around her disappeared for a few minutes.
Only one or two stops after the knitting had begun, an old man wearing a worn, dirty black jacket walked through the automatic doors. He asked and physically motioned as to whether or not he could sit in the empty seat beside her. She nodded her head in approval. It was easy for our eyes to assume the man was homeless. As the minutes passed, his odor had permeated the subway car. Our noses had now confirmation from our eyes, that this man was most likely on the down and out.
The old man began to speak to her. At first she pulled out only one ear bud. Her head motioned that she was listening as she spun her red yarn. Soon, she pulled out her left ear bud and began to speak back to him. She laughed. She commented. That moment was in many ways a snapshot of D.C.
We often think of D.C. as a place of history and politicians. It's viewed as cold mannered, sometimes dangerous and only worth scooting in to see places of significance like the Lincoln Memorial. D.C., however, will bring you into her bosom if you allow your guard down.
As we got off the subway, I told the woman, “I love it that you knit on the subway.” That was also my way of saying, Thank you for your compassion.
Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org
Susan Kiskis is the publisher for Freedom Journal and author of memoir, Born Fire Dragon. She has a deeply seeded case of wanderlust.