Monday, November 03, 2008


An early morning ride on the Red Line, from Cambridge to Boston, then onto the Gray Line from South Station to the airport.

I always toy with the idea of taking my camera out one last time as we cross the Charles River. River crossings are invariably pretty. But usually I don’t bother. River crossings on a subway with dirty windows, zipping alongside a highway, facing the uninteresting part of Boston are not worth it.

Today, however, I just want to take a photo already and put the camera away. I’m tired. I have long layovers between flights. And I have work to do. Take the photo and be done with it.

And I do that. And, as expected, it is an unremarkable photo.

009 copy

Except that as I take it, an older woman across the car leans over and tells me – you captured a good one. I’m about to protest and say that it is a boring side of Boston and the window is dirty and there is nothing that needs to be said about this place, this day, this minute, but as I look at the woman more closely, I think – wow. She is someone who knows how to engage her world. She does not run and hide.

And so I smile and shrug all at the same time and I agree that the colors are neat, what with autumn and the sleet gray of the day. As I leave the subway several stops later, I want to say something more to her. An offhand remark maybe. Like – don’t forget to vote! But in the end I don't say anything. She’s the last person I would want to insult with the suggestion that she may, indeed, forget to vote.

I get off and proceed to the next train and then the many flights home and I do work and put away my suitcase and eventually sit down and think about how cool it is when in the course of a day you come across someone who says something nice to you for no reason except to acknowledge our common humanity.

I hope she does vote. Somehow I think she’s likely to pick the better candidate out there. The one who is more likely to act out of a belief in our common humanity.

I wish I had at least waved before stepping out onto the platform.