The Blue Line train was chugging along nicely on an ordinary Wednesday morning rush hour commute, but then it started thinking about things. Asking itself questions like: “What if Metro heaven doesn’t exist? What if this is this all there is? Am I doomed to a lifetime of schlepping these poor slobs back and forth to work every day before being shunted into some railway boneyard and cut up for scrap? I always wanted to see Paris. I could have carried beautiful people who spilled their wine and ground flaky croissant morsels into my carpets under the heals of their glamorous shoes as I glided along elegantly beneath the Champs Elysees whistling La Marseillaise. But alas, here I am in suburban Virginia carrying fat defense contractors in cheap suits to the Pentagon. Oh woe is me.” Then it broke down in a heaving fit of sobs and decided to just sit quietly in a dark tunnel and feel sorry for itself for a while. Eventually it composed itself and, resigned to its fate, decided to get back to work. Stand clear, doors closing.
Grandpa came home one day with a blood-red Arab mare named Suzy. We all thought he was foolish for buying her; a 65-year old man had no business on such a hot-blooded horse, a mare no less, which would be coming into heat every month and acting crazy. We were all afraid he would get thrown and break a hip. But Grandpa didn’t listen to our protests. I think he was attracted to her beauty rather than her practicality, like a man in a mid-life crisis purchasing a flashy red sports car. And Suzy was a beauty, lightly built with sleek graceful lines and a delicate head with the dished shape characteristic of her breed. Beautiful, but entirely impractical. Continue reading “The Arab Mare”
It is very cold, around 15 degrees, and a stout north wind makes it feel even colder. My breath forms a white cloud around my head each time I exhale. In the Franconia/Springfield Metro station a man stands in the entrance to the station holding a handwritten cardboard sign reading “Disabled Veteran. Any help is appreciated.” Continue reading “My People”
We jumped in an Indian-made version of a Jeep with a forest ranger whose services we had borrowed for the day from the government of India. Our destination was a tea estate that faces regular raids from elephants living in the adjacent forest reserve. Continue reading “Waiter, there’s an elephant in my tea!”