The Red Line Romance: Or, I Flew 3,000 Miles to Become a Sardine.

The Red Line Romance: Or, I Flew 3,000 Miles to Become a Sardine.

I've been an artistic mood lately so this post is going to be a little different. After weeks and weeks of traveling through the Red Line on the Metro you can't help but notice the little moments and strange quirks of it. With that in mind, I feel like channeling my inner Kerouac to bring you little snippets of life on the Metro. Preferably the more memorable moments.

There’s a world showcase that happens around every seven minutes here. It’s a traveling troupe and the actors constantly come and go. The stage, you ask? The Red Line.

What’s a stage without some scenery? This world is caste in a dim, orange hue; an eternal sun. One can only imagine what John Boehner would look like sitting in here. A giant Oompa-Loompa, perhaps? One that holds vast congressional authority, to say the least. This warmth shines defiantly against the omnipresent void of the meandering pathways, its presence interrupted only by occasional rays of blue and white. Space travel must be possible here.


Pressed against a side of a train car by a living wall, I find myself looking within to see not only faces, but stories. A family of four – a woman with a fondness for order and three girls – clings to each other in the center. Are they tourists? I notice they are all wearing sandals with socks. Yep, tourists. The youngest girl seeks to escape the safety of the center pole and explore. She falls down and then quickly runs back to the starting point. Frightening, but also enlightening. A young women  fights fatigue as she drills through an MCAT prep book. Eventually the book, the gateway to new opportunities, instead becomes a makeshift pillow. A bearded man with an intensely red sweater ran me over as he rushed towards the doors. Possibly Santa. I don’t know why he was in such a rush to leave the train car, but he needs to put his fashion consultant on the naughty list. Khakis are so not his style.



It seems the show matches my overall well-being, be it good or bad. Where are all the smiles? Friends disregard each other’s company with cell phones, their ears buzzing with the sounds of Jay-Z, AC/DC, TBS, RATM...Alphabet soup for the lonely soul. Plop, plop. An unexpected aggressor appears.  Water drips out of the blue and onto my brow, a lovely addition to my already ruined day. Two girls clash over politics; there’s a lot more yelling than listening. Ghostly wails reverberate with the spirit of Ginsberg, submitting only to an act of prophecy: “Doors opening”. Despite these cold, disenfranchising scenes, hope abounds. A small child rises up in the face of this suburban cacophony. He looks up at the lights with bright brown eyes then sings. “Keep trying, keep trying”, he says. Amidst what is said and not said, through the gears and growls, he continues until we arrive at my stop. A little ray of sunshine never hurt.

My time here is drawing to a close. I think back to home in San Diego. I think about my car. I think about the isolation my car would bring. When I travel I will be enveloped in my own sphere of privacy, no longer able to witness the little moments of victory and setbacks faced by my fellow human beings. My car is a goldfish bowl; the Red Line is an ocean. Here I have found that at times neither journey nor destination matter, but rather the medium in which I reach my destination. I’ll keep riding the Red Line as much as I can. I’d stay on this stage if I could.


Metro Music!
"Tank!" [Cowboy Bebop Opening]

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