This morning as I walked into the Metro station I reached for the plastic badge-holder that is clipped to my messenger bag and that normally holds my contracting company HQ ID/key (not to be confused with my government-issued DoD building badge, which always stays deep inside my messenger badge when not worn) and my Metro SmarTrip card. I say “normally” because this morning I found the plastic zipper open and the holder itself empty. Both items that were supposed to be within the holder’s confines are replaceable (SmarTrip card if I shell out some extra money, contractor ID if I give HR some time) so I almost forged on without them, but ultimately I decided I should at least try retracing my steps before giving up completely.
And as it happened, I barely made it back to the entrance of the Metro station before an older woman was approaching me and asking if I had dropped my card. She explained she was scanning the crowd looking for someone who looked like they had lost something and I guess I was wearing that fact pretty plainly on my sidewalk-scanning face. I thanked her profusely when she handed me my SmarTrip, even though I still had to keep working my way back towards my car looking for the contractor ID. I found it, finally, not far at all from my car. All in all it probably added about ten minutes to my commute on top of the normal highway and train time, but it also added a bright spot of human decency so, you know, that’s a wash.
The funny thing is I remembered passing the woman on the sidewalk from the parking lot to the Metro station, because she was one of those birdlike older women moving fairly slowly on her skinny crane legs, and I suppose I’m lucky I did pass her because her graciousness wouldn’t have done me much good if she hadn’t ended up following in my wake. For that matter, I doubt anyone within a couple standard deviations of my age (which would be 80 – 90% of the other Metro riders) would have taken the time to even notice someone’s dropped Metro card, let along pick it up and try to find the person who dropped it. I know that there’s not much to get excited about when confronted with the physical deteriorations that come along with the aging process, but honestly, there are times when I look forward to the combination of being forced by nature and (somewhat, sometimes) allowed by society to slow the hell down. I’m not naturally a fast-paced person, but I do tend to go with the flow. And I live in the greater D.C. area. So, and thus.
Also this morning at the Metro, I spotted another example of something I’m looking forward to in my golden years. I forget if it was the first or second time I entered the station, but I noticed an older couple headed for the turnstiles and the gentleman was wearing a polo shirt with a very bold American flag print. I mean absolutely no question about it, the article of clothing in question had no business being out and about on any days other than the Fourth of July and maybe – MAYBE – Memorial Day, or Flag Day, or Patriot’s Day … my point is this shirt was clearly a Special Occasion Shirt according to my sartorial senses. And yet for the gentleman ahead of me it was perfectly reasonable attire for a random Wednesday in September. In fact, I dare say he looked downright natty. To which I can only say, more power to you, sir. I look forward to someday being similarly unencumbered by any considerations other than doing whatever I damn well please with no regard for what others think.