May 5, 2002

Coming of Age Underground

I started taking my 4 year old daughter to school on the Metro (DC’s subway) without a stroller this week. We are now walking, hopefully hand-in-hand, across the Metro platforms. She’s simply getting too big to be pushed around.

Too big physically: the wheels of my $40 umbrella stroller (meaning it folds up neatly like its namesake) can no longer support her weight and the wheels suddenly twist and turn in directions you don’t wish to go. horoscope of May 5thThis is bad when you find yourself around the milling multitudes and moving trains underground. And too big mentally: our stroller is the last in the designated parking space for such transportation at her daycare. She knows she’s the last to be brought to class that way and her sense of self, not to mention very strong evidence of peer pressure, no longer sees this as tolerable. “I’m a big girl,” she declares. There are days I wholeheartedly support her initiative. If only she were more consistent. But I digress.

This morning we were making cookies (a daily traveling ritual where my rounded arms serve as the bowl and my daughter adds all the ingredients) when the train stopped and a man took his seat in front of us. While our bench faced the front, his faced the opposite side of the car. So, by default, we had an unobstructed and close view of him.

He was dressed in a shirt and tie, his goatee neatly trimmed. He carried a briefcase. Upon initial gaze he looked no more nor no less a typical morning commuter. Only some sort of a bandage on his head, capped with what looked like a woman’s shear stocking seemed slightly out of character. As the train continued its push downtown I began to notice he was talking to some unseen person.

It used to be easy to categorize people who were talking to themselves. Using public transportation brings you in contact with all sorts of interesting individuals. But the number has swelled perceptively in the last few years with the introduction of those clipon ear “buds” for cell phones.

I must admit, I’m still not used to seeing people walk down the street talking on the phones in this manner. Don’t they know how funny they look when they get mad at some unseen coworker? I start laughing along with these protagonists when they laugh at some “imaginary” punchline. Then I catch myself, shake my head in wonderment, and immediately look for others on the street to share my disbelief. But this man had no ear bud. And no phone.

I looked around but the only one who seemed to notice was my daughter. She stared at him and I must admit I was afraid she was going to say something. “WHO IS THAT MAN TALKING TO?” I could hear her saying. Now I was hearing voices too. But she continued to stare quietly. And I wondered what she was thinking.

Yes, my daughter is growing up, I mumble to myself. I take note of every little step.

* * *

Speaking of growing up, Verisign, the parent company of Network Solutions, the first domain registrar, sold Leslie Harpold’s domain name,, to someone else before her registration expired! And they are continuing to drag their feet on this one. Return Leslie’s domain to her! I get better service at one-third the cost here.

On a related note (su domain es mi domain), I’ve added a new feature, Jeff’s Fret List to the left column. As noted in my April 22 story, sometimes I ruminate about where I’ve put my pleasurable possessions. Now you can keep up-to-date with my mood by using my patent pending Fret O’ Meter®.

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