Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Finding Zen on the Red Line

There are people who like to be busy all the time. I even know some of them. They travel, go on bikathons, play in bands. Other people, like me, really need quiet time. 

Recently I took a long weekend out of town, and that set back my laundry and chores schedule. I also signed up for tai chi through the local community education and for a writing class at Grub Street. That's plenty busy for me, and I'm having trouble keeping up. I've sort of been aware of major current events (chemical weapons in Syria, government shutdown here in the US), but I haven't read the newspaper in any depth for a couple of weeks.

So this morning's Red Line delay came as almost a welcome happenstance. I was already running late when I got on the Ashmont train shortly after 8 am. It was surprisingly uncrowded, and I got my favorite seat in the corner. I opened the newspaper and dug in. The train pulled out of Davis and stopped at Porter, picking up relatively few passengers. I still had an empty seat next to me.

And that's when the trouble began. The scratchy audio of the conductor's voice announcing, "Disabled train directly in front of us...We apologize for the delay...We should be moving shortly." But I knew, as did every experienced Red Line rider, that we were going to be there at least half an hour. I had water, I had my paper. It was kind of nice--I embraced the down time. There was nothing else I could do.

After about 40 minutes, we continued into Harvard Station, where everyone from the bad train was waiting to get on our train. Our train became really overcrowded, and people seemed pretty cranky by then. But it was almost as if an invisible bubble had formed around me. I felt serene. I finished the entire Boston Globe before we even got to Park Street. Thank you, Red Line, for the most relaxing half hour I've had in weeks.

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