Commuting with Nature
Growing up in L.A., I embraced my car and the automobile culture. But even then I realized I might be missing something while traversing the freeways in my 2400 pound metal "cage." Now that I live in D.C. I make better use of public transportation on my daily commutes to work, my car reserved only for weekends.

There's something wonderful about both observing and interacting with strangers. Commuting with my children, of course, has been a wonderful conduit for these interactions. Our merry band of actors often keeps the crowds amused and sometimes amazed. But sometimes I just sit quietly and watch.

July 31, 2011

The Attack of the Wasps!

It wasn’t this bad but it felt like it was. Last Sunday at 11 a.m. I was attacked by a swarm of wasps. More on that in a minute. But first, what good is a trauma like this if…

June 2, 2010

I’m in Heaven and It’s Only Wednesday

This is Glenda. The morning commute was ending like all weekday commutes. As I shoved my way to the surface it was time to start thinking about work: the fires I needed to put out or needed to start….

January 12, 2010

A Story in Three Tweets: Mr. OCD

Twitter allows you to send missives to your followers in 140 character bursts. For a storyteller these are often exercises in learning to be economical with one’s words with the greatest amount of impact. Today I tried but a story…

October 4, 2009

On Being a Voyeur: I Have No Complaints

When I was in San Francisco last week for meetings I stayed with good friends in Noe Valley. Being a seasoned commuter I left the house each morning precisely at 7:55 and walked down to Market Street to catch the…

August 9, 2009

Nailing a Good Photo

My fellow commuter. Click on image for a larger view. It had been a long week. I’d just completed two days of teaching teachers how to podcast: a rewarding activity that reminded me of my years in the classroom….

January 25, 2009

Vulnerable Below Street Level

Caffeine, you were my friend. I started my day with you and recently began seeing you on an ongoing basis in the late afternoon. When I realized you had no effect on my regular bedtime I relied on you to…

January 11, 2009

Commuting Rules of Engagement

Rush Hour on the DC Metro. Photo by andrew.deci via Flickr. When you commute five days a week on public transportation you start to see the same people standing in the same places everyday. I’ve always marveled at how…

April 14, 2008

Marginally Speaking Downunder

Gotta get off, gonna get, hafta to get off from this ride Gotta get hold, gonna get, need to get hold of my pride When did I get, where did I, how was I caught in this game When…

January 13, 2008

Upgrading the DC Metro’s Identity

When DC’s Metro unveiled a new concept car last week this logo identity mysteriously appeared. Local officials first billed DC’s proposed transit system as “America’s” subway when it went to Congress for financial backing. Last week the Washington Metropolitan…

September 4, 2007

Men: Don’t Wear White After Labor Day

The day after Labor Day is known by many as Terrible Tuesday. By that time, all of the schools are back in, and the majority of people are back from their vacations. It just sort of hits all at…

September 17, 2006

Curbing My Enthusiasm

Deep inside I could be him. Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm I was standing on the subway platform Friday afternoon, looking forward to the weekend. It started out as a normal commute home. As the train came into the…

June 26, 2006

The DC Subway: Don’t Block the Box

Sardines. Every morning subway commuters are packed into overcrowded tins like generic and anonymous fish. The only way out of these cans is through three small doors. And by the time I’m ready for my exit there’s almost no way…

April 20, 2006

Is That Who I Think It Is?

Sometimes a morning commute is just a morning commute. But on special days the egalitarian nature of mass transit puts you front and center —right in front with those “special people” making the news. This morning I saw John…

April 5, 2006

Underground Station Breaks

The DC Metro Finds New Revenue in a Tunnel. Click the image above to start. (Quicktime, 2.1 MB) Washington’s subway system is slowly falling apart. After 30 years the Metro is showing its age. The system needs a huge…

February 24, 2006

The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 9

You can’t hear me? I CAN HEAR YOU!Yes I can. Brenda, I am on the subway. I can’t be doing that! When people make public spectacles of themselves I get embarrassed. Why me? Watching a scorned lover let her…

December 18, 2005

The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 8

Amber, this is Glenn I’m in the Metro on my way in I need an email to go out now! . An early morning snow had forced the federal government to open two hours late. The respite from AM…

August 16, 2005

Orbs Above Us

Some of the enhanced security is visible to our customers and at the same time, much is not, and that’s exactly the way it is designed to be. Polly Hanson Metro Transit Police Chief Taking public transportation often provides…

May 26, 2005

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink: My Coworkers and I in the Uniform of the Day Commuting time is usually decompression time. Unlike driving, riding the subway each morning and afternoon allows me to listen to music or This American Life on…

December 11, 2004

The Sociology of Close Contact Technology:
Taking Back Your Public Space

Download these handy dandy cards,perfect for any overbearing cell phone interaction I am a voyeur. To be a good artist you must be willing to observe and listen. It’s not hard when you take public transportation every day. As…

March 22, 2004

The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 4

In this month’s Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable office politics meets low carb but tasty recipes. March madness: cell phone monodialogues® from the subway underground: We’ve got to nail this guy! If we don’t we’ll be knockin’ on…

February 23, 2004

On Becoming a Micro DJ

It’s Friday afternoon. The weekend beckons after a long five days. Major Web site redesign almost ready for launch. Me: on the subway home with thoughts of a mellow Chardonnay nestled sweetly in a Reidel crystal glass. I’m listening…

February 7, 2004

The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 3

In this month’s performance from the acclaimed Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable—monodialogue® cell phone performances from the Washington subway—showbiz lobbies for better government. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 3: What’s up? I…

January 22, 2004

The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 2

Last month, after a particularly grueling day at work I founded The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable. Each month I would perform underground cell phone conversation tableaus to the apathetic minions riding DC’s subway system, the Metro. The…

December 24, 2003

The Underground Christmas Spirit

It was one of those spur-of-the-moment things. Just as we pulled into my subway stop this morning I decided I was going to wish everyone in my car a booming Merry Christmas. My impromptu holiday plan would take place…

December 20, 2003

The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 1

After a particularly difficult and emotionally heart wrenching day at work (is there no other kind?) I was listening to my iPod’s special “Get Over It” mix on the subway home, prepared especially for days like this. While undoing…

August 5, 2003

The End of the Line

In two more weeks my life will change forever. My oldest, just about to enter the 2nd grade at the end of this month, will be joined by my youngest as she enters kindergarten. Their school is close to…

June 19, 2003

A Close Encounter of the Loud Kind

While Steve was cleaning up after a night of teen debauchery, I suddenly found myself walking quickly through my own nest of broken eggshells. This morning, on my commute to work a young man got on the train, his…

June 8, 2003

Fashion Dos and Don’ts

I have been reduced to doing fashion makeovers in the subway. On our morning ride downtown, a man, about 35, took the seat directly across from me. With my daughter taking a commuter’s snooze on my lap I was…

February 25, 2003

Par for the Parental Course

That sound. I am driving my daughter to school. We have been on the road for almost an hour, twice as long as it should take us to get downtown. And we are almost there. She sits in her backseat…

February 12, 2003

Reality TV verses Reality: It’s a Toss Up

Which is scarier: Osama bin Laden’s recent tape or Michael Jackson’s? Each, in its own way, is a reflection on our society and speaks volumes about our values. Osama thinks he can change the world by killing infidels (innocent…

January 25, 2003

New Age Etiquette: It’s Easy as A-B-C

I saw Michael Jackson on the subway yesterday. Not the present version but the one from the 70s: medium, well-shaped Afro and that angelic, before the shit-hit-the-fan face. It’s been oh so cold here in DC (coldest it’s been…

January 9, 2003

Smart Underground Mobs

I was deep into Howard Rheingold’s new book, Smart Mobs, when I looked up and discovered that twelve other people in the subway car were reading it as well. As I raised my eyes, everyone lowered their books to give…

August 29, 2002

Commuting with Spin

“Are you pro-growth or anti-growth?” I asked the candidate standing outside the entrance to the subway this morning. “We’re pro-people,” she answered. I grimaced and flicked my head in the direction I wanted to be moving. “Well, that isn’t…

July 12, 2002

That Which We Call a Gesture

Morning Short #1 On our morning commute: my eldest daughter (age 5 3/4) told me she wanted a phone in her room just as a real live version of Abe Simpson passed us on the street. I almost dropped my…

June 15, 2002

Whine Connoisseur

I knew it was going to be a bad day. The whining began immediately at our front door as we rushed off to school and work. By the time we were safely ensconced in our secure subway seats my…

May 21, 2002

How to Grow a Longer Nose

I lied. I flat out lied and it was so effortless I was shocked to hear the words slip so easily out of my mouth. I am never fully awake when we ride the morning Metro. I’m not sleepy,…

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….

March 2, 2002

Parenthood: A Borderline Schizophrenic Experience

I am an actor. I act in morality plays. I am a street performer of sorts, displaying my lessons on the DC subway. I captivate some, yet most are captives. My daughter is both my unwitting foil and the object…

February 8, 2002

Marching to a Postmodern Beat

My ride into work this morning: I take the subway but it’s elevated much of the way in. It’s getting lighter earlier and my commute and the sunrise are almost in sync. I’d say by next Wednesday it should be…

April 23, 2001

Keep on the Sunny Side: The Right Side

As mentioned earlier, I take my daughter to school on the Metro (DC’s subway). Well, actually, I take both of my daughters to school. When commuting downtown with a 4 1/2 and 3 year old at 7 in the morning,…

April 2, 2001

All Things are Simulacrums

This morning started out as most weekday mornings do: a rush to get us and the kids ready for work and school and a mad dash to the car, making sure everything and everyone is in place. As we…

February 22, 2001

Underground Magic

As we walked through the door she began her incantation. Raising her hands before her, eyes closed, she began: I wish, I wish with all my heart To fly with dragons in the land of heart I stared, transfixed,…