Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tragedy Plus Time

...equals comedy. Or so says Woody Allen (via Alan Alda).

Taking the Metro up to Silver Spring I just sat back and people-watched. I love doing that. In another life, being a sociologist wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Public transportation is oddly such a solitary journey. Ironic since depending on the mode and city, you can be packed in like sardines.

If you've ever used the Metro, it is set up slightly different than say the NYC subway system. It is not as extensive and there are more hot points, meaning busier stops when you know the trains will load up or empty out. Trust me, going to Silver Spring, after Union Station, no one has to stand.

With the advent of the iPod or even the Walkman (ahhh....the cassette!), it has made these rides even that more isolated.

The odd moment hit me today as we pulled into and out of the Galludet University stop. For those who don't know, Galludet is a college where the majority (if not all) that students are deaf. Big bruhaha a year ago about their would-be dean who didn't know sign language...or wouldn't use it. She never took the job.

Also a few years ago, a few students were killed up there. There was a laughable and unfortunate Washington Post headline regarding a memorial service which read: A Moment of Silence at Galludet.

Anyway - this stop made me think of two things.

One was how the students getting on the train would love the opportunity to be able to hear and partake in the world around. I don't want to generalize...many don't have that desire. But I don't know one hearing-abled person who would want to be deaf and close themselves off of the world. Except about two dozen people in my car....including me. There we were with our ear buds firmly in place - distancing ourselves from the world around us.

The other thing was just a streaming thought of the murders at Galludet and Virginia Tech. I flashed on the 'Crimes and Misdemeanor' quote that is the post title. I admit the Post headline made me laugh. I hope out of absurdity, but deep down I don't know this for sure, now that it's almost seven years later.

Usually after a tragedy there are jokes soon after. I swear that is how we cope sometimes and how we go on. I remember a few Challenger ones that didn't take long at all after that disaster. I will say - there have been none from 9/ least that I've heard.

I know I shouldn't laugh about Virginia Tech - and technically I don't think I am. A friend, who shall go nameless, made an off the cuff remark yesterday that referenced them, but more so his/her job and frustration: My boss makes me envious of the dead VA Tech kids.

That goes to the 2nd Allen/Alda line from the same movie: if it bends, it's comedy. if it breaks, it isn't.

It might be a serious bend on that last one - but I don't think a break. Bad taste? Perhaps. But isn't much humour based in bad taste?

Anyway - no great revelations. Just random thoughts from the train.

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