Coming home tonight on the Metro Red Line, I boarded at Dupont Circle and took a seat in the end of the car. It was a lone seat facing neither backwards nor forward but mounted against the exterior wall of the train facing the aisle. Two young African American women entered with me and sat together opposite me and in the last seats on my side, opposite the two women was a man already sprawled. The man was black and wearing a black toboggan hat and a puffy shiny mostly yellow coat and he had a duffle bag with him that he was sort of cradling as he listed like a ship about to come free of its moorings and we were still sitting still in the station...
And here's where it gets a little tricky. Drunk? or Psychotic? Only people who are inebriated or mentally ill are as carefree and oblivious of others in public. There was an empty seat between him and myself, and he was kitty-cornered to the young women. As we all took notice of him, I began reading my play program and the women squirmed and pulled out their cell phones.
He, for his part, didn't seem to take much mind in us. He was still in the thralls of his last meal and speaking it's praises over and over and over again, "that was one fine steak...he he he he, one fine steak and one fine baked potato! Ho ho ho ho...'at's why I'm so tired... he he he" He chuckled as he spoke and sometimes gave a little chuckle between every syllable as he repeat some form of praise for that steak and potato. The next stopped arrived and both ladies got up and left the train. It was a sparsely populated station and no one new got on. Neither fact bothered my friend has he just droned on and rocked back and forth, now hugging the duffle bag like a pillow.
As we approached the next station he said, "I have never had such a sweet, juicy, perfect steak before in my life." He didn't say it to me, but I still looked right at him and smiled. And he noticed and looked at me and went into an even heartier rolling chuckle, as the train came to a stop. He grabbed the straps on the duffle and stood up and I said, to him, "That was a might fine steak!" And his eyes twinkled and he replied, "Yes, it was!" and as he passed me toward the entrance I called out to him, "Sweet dreams, my friend!" He shot me a little side wave chuckling all the way off the train.
The older I get, the more I want to just be a part of what comes my way...even just a little part.