A year ago today, the unthinkable happened. A metro train smashed into another train, and people lost their lives. No one in Washington, D.C. needs reminding, and yet, as predictable as mosquitos in August, the news crews are out on the Metro trains today, interrupting the reverie of passengers and breaking the unwritten rules.
They’re talking to people.
It started with a single cameraman, shooting video possibly out the window, possibly of a young woman sleeping on the train, trying to make up for last night’s late shift on her way to class.
He shot video out the window, not quite at her, while two twentysomethings and I worried aloud that she was being filmed without her permission. We almost woke her.
Then he asked a commuter about her feelings about the train. It’s safe, she said. I ride it every day. But don’t you worry sometimes, he asked? Like near the (mumbling) or when you pass by where the accident occured? Oh, sure, sometimes, she answered, around (and I didn’t hear the specifics). He continurd to prod: today is the anniversary, you know. I know, she said. Of the accident, he went on, hidden behind the camera lens glaring in her face. I know, she said. It happened right there, he continued, ready to film the emotion he tried to provoke.
But she was unflappable. Stoic in the face of what the cameraman insinuated was danger, she simply said, I ride the train every day to work.
The twentysomethings and I were appalled at his forwardness. We cluck-clucked to ourselves, in relative safety across the aisle, and murmured about the media trying to make us afraid. We shrugged it off, returning to our book, our iPhone, our DC-ubiquitous blackberry, and we continued on toward our destinations downtown.
D.C. is like this, you know. We know full well that city mice run risks unimaginable for county mice, but we keep going anyway. We have work to do.
They flew planes into our buildings, you know. They mailed anthrax to our offices. They tried to make us afraid. After 9/11, we are a harder people. We care about our fellow passengers. We share our concerns. But we keep on traveling toward our dreams, leaving fear far behind.
We rode on, together, in silence.