29 September, 2008

The Commuter

I occasionally see an old woman schlupping up and down Connecticut Avenue, her head painfully cocked askew, her eyes cautiously glued to the sidewalk, her back humped and limbs arthritic. She'd be a depressing sight if she had let herself fall to shambles, but instead she's always impeccably dressed. Not fashionable exactly, but grandma fashionable. Colorful blouses and clean holiday vests and shiny broaches, everything exquisitely laundered and pressed, well-tailored and appropriately adorned. I wonder how difficult it must be for her to dress so primly, but she's never disappointed.

The other morning, during rainfall, I saw her walking to the Metro at seven, a floppy American flag hat pulled over her head and a photographic identification card dangling around her neck. I'd never realized she was going to a job everytime she trekked to the busstop, but I can picture her at her desk, working slowly but surely, never complaining. All the young employees call her Granma affectionately, and at Christmas time she buys a Hallmark ornament for everyone without prejudice, and for the really special coworkers a stuffed reindeer. Maybe sometimes she makes jokes that would be scandalous by 1940s standards, letting them out in a slow and small but very precise voice.

Anyway, I love this woman.

I've been sick the past few days, but going to work in spite of it (as if I had a choice). I've watched some movies (Parents, Tropic Thunder, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), King of the Zombies, Burn After Reading, Trouble the Water), and some reviews for some of them should be coming soon. I've been studying Spanish, keeping up (however angrily and bemusedly) with the news, and slogging my way through Gravity's Rainbow, which I'll also one day post an analysis of if I ever actually finish it (I've read 632 of 887 pages, and there's no telling how many of those pages I understood, though I've enjoyed enough of it, I guess). Things are good.

p.s. Paul just told me he saw the old lady with the floppy hat this morning, hunching down to pet a pedestrian's Pomeranian. "She sounded just as nice as you'd imagine," he tells me. Maybe I can lure her into starting a conversation by walking someone's dog up and down the street....

1 comment:

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