A HANDSOME STRANGER

A sign from the universe? An omen that all will be well?
  1. Today I arrived in Washington, D.C. at 4:52 AM.
  2. At 5:41 AM, I finally found the Flyer bus stop.
  3. There was a guy waiting for the bus also. The bus driver told him it didn't leave until 6 AM.
  4. He recently returned from a trip to Bolivia.
  5. There was a lot of air pollution there.
  6. He went bike riding with his friends three days ago and the air quality was so bad, he thought it was more dangerous than the roads.
  7. He is happy to return to Virginia, where he's from.
  8. I said the air pollution in Los Angeles is pretty bad, but probably not as bad as Bolivia?
  9. He said every American city is beautifully clean to him now.
  10. He asked me why I was in Washington, and I told him I had a medical school interview today.
  11. We were sitting in a cave-like alcove.
    If we painted something on the wall, it would be discovered in a thousand years, and people might think that airports were a safe haven for the lost.
  12. We talked about airports and how Love Actually is terrible.
    No one is happy at airports, and there are better romantic Christmas movies and better Hugh Grant movies. He said airports are a microcosm of human existence. I agreed; airports show the true essence of people in their worst moments.
  13. He said I was surprisingly accepting of these weird tangents.
    He usually has to stop himself from saying all these weird thoughts. You're welcome, sir, for the unfiltered mind that is my own before 6 AM.
  14. We talked about what we would do in a plane emergency.
    Seat belts on planes are useless.
  15. We bought our bus tickets and got on the bus.
  16. The Flyer bus advertises free Wi-Fi.
  17. He asked me when my interview was, and I said 9:15 AM.
    He raised his eyebrows and then said, "you seem like an overachiever."
  18. I said that I didn't think anyone could be successful without being an overachiever in some way.
  19. He surprisingly agreed.
  20. He has recently redefined what it means to be successful.
  21. He has a Master's in aerospace engineering, but lost his job last year to bureaucratic reshuffling.
    Or so he says.
  22. So now he travels.
    Building churches in Bolivia, apparently.
  23. I said that I grew up in the theater and I've learned it's better to be who you want to be today, because you can always be someone else tomorrow.
    He said I seemed like a very expressive person, and like I would be in the theater. I told him that technical theater is a different form of expression because it's more nuanced. Being in the spotlight all the time is terribly exhausting.
  24. "That's a great segue to the movie I watched," he said.
  25. He watched the Secret Life of Walter Mitty on the plane and loved it.
    Surprising double meaning at the end, whatever that means. Don't tell me, I'll stream it when I get home. Something about behind the scenes?
  26. "You seem like you would be an interesting person behind the scenes," he said.
  27. We talked about directors and what movies should be.
  28. And superheroes and supervillains.
  29. Have you ever noticed, I said, that people are drawn to the villains so much more?
  30. Batman villains, he pointed out, are much more complex than Batman himself.
    Also, who the hell wants to live in Gotham??? Why not just live in a nice town, with nice people, and no terrible destruction?
  31. The most popular Shakespeare plays, I said, are ones like Macbeth and Richard III, truly terrible people.
  32. He wondered why people tend to call it "great art" or "great cinema" when it's very destructive or chaotic.
  33. I said that I think people are overstimulated and just need to feel something.
    Guns and violence gets it done; although, personally I think you could have just dropped your toast on the floor. That upsets me a lot.
  34. When we got off the Flyer bus, he showed me how to buy a Metro card.
    Why is every urban transit line so confusing??? (His favorite metro system is in Kiev.)
  35. "Are you going to vote today?" I asked him.
  36. He said he didn't know.
  37. He lives a few hours out and he has plans with friends.
  38. "Polls close at 8 PM though, right?"
  39. "Do they? I guess I could make it."
  40. "You should. It would be a nice homecoming."
  41. "You're right. Back in America, just in time to vote."
  42. It is now 6:41 AM, an hour since I met this person.
  43. We are now on the Silver Line, toward two separate destinations.
  44. He's standing over there, looking at the map and looking at his phone.
  45. Should I say cheers when I leave?