Hurricane? No. Fire, yes.

I’m not going to waste my time agonizing over Hurricane Earl, which apparently made its way up to Canada this afternoon. My family was under the impression that D.C. was about to get hit, but all is well in the mid-Atlantic.

If anything, there’s an unusual amount of wind, which helps reduce humidity, so I have no complaints.

At 10 a.m., I walked to the metro to get to my yoga 1 session. While I awaited the next train, I saw some smoke coming out of the metro tracks. As I moved closer, I recognized several orange flames.

Glancing up at the metro TV screen, I saw that the train was supposed to arrive in four minutes, but would it be safe to glide over a tiny fire?

No one around me seemed alarmed or concerned in the least. Before I knew it, an older man took a closer look at the smoke, screamed “fire!!!!! fire!” and rushed down the stairs to tell one of the train station employees.

Everybody decided to make fun of this guy for treating it like a big crisis. I admired his sense of urgency because he seemed to be the only one in the area to actually give a shit about the safety and well-being of all metro train riders. The only reason I didn’t immediately revert to panic mode was because I’ve found that anxiety can rub off on others, and no one wants to create or fuel that kind of negative energy.

The fire was put out in less than a minute, and the train went on to roll right over the patch of smoke.

The metro TV screen was pretty inaccurate this afternoon. As you’ll see in the blurred photo below, the train pulled up to the tracks even though the screen said that I’d have to wait another 12 minutes for an arrival.

Yesterday, I met some unusual people at Starbucks and West Falls Church metro station. While I was text messaging a friend at the coffee shop, an Asian woman tapped me on the shoulder and started yelling.

I had absolutely no idea what she was saying. At first, I wasn’t even sure of the language she was speaking. Was it English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or something else? To my ears, it sounded like gibberish, and some of it very well might have been. After I asked her to repeat herself numerous times, I finally concluded that she was talking in muddled English, and I only made sense of four words out of the entire spiel. She’d said “apple” and “too many options.”

Because I’ve studied abroad and attempted a foreign language, I am all too familiar with the frustration of mispronunciation. It’s discouraging when no one around you understands the message you’re trying to get across. I’ve been there, I feel for the poor woman. With that, I generally just nod my head and pretend to know what foreigners in the U.S. are saying. That’s exactly what I did with this lady, who kept making weird hand gestures and screaming. Other people were glancing over at us, but I wasn’t sure what they expected to happen.

Even though I have no clue what this woman was really like, I could tell she had a warm, humorous way about her, and I was grateful for our bizarre exchange. She was in good spirits, that’s for sure. I always enjoy meeting new people, even for just a few moments. More than anything, I take my hat off to anyone who merely wants to make conversation.

Later on, while I waited to be picked up by my buddy Tracey at West Falls Church, a tall young man came up and asked me about my sunglasses.

“Let me guess, those are from Dolce and Gabbana?” he asked.

“Target, but close enough,” I said, laughing.

“No way! They look like they could be from Gucci or Fendi.”

Liar. He was totally making that up, but I decided to play along with this blatantly false compliment.

“Well, thank you.”

“Don’t tell people that you went to Target. Next time, say they’re from Dolce and Gabbana. I have about 60 pairs of shades and I bought them all at Sunglasses Hut.”

Who needs to have all those sunglasses? It seemed like he loved shopping, so I didn’t question his purchases.

“Where are you from originally?” he asked.

I always laugh when people automatically assume that I’m not an easterner. I wonder how they can detect that sort of thing. It must be similar to the way that Europeans spot Americans from a mile away.

I explained that I’m from the San Francisco bay area and he called me a crazy person for leaving the state of California. He’s right, I was a little nuts to part ways with the ocean, quality Mexican food, and perfect weather, but I was also bored out of my mind hanging around beach towns. My career opportunities are much better in D.C., and, as I’ve said a million times, the pace is more up to my speed.

“What line of work are you in?” I asked.

“I’m a stripper!”

For about ten seconds, I believed him. Too bad he was lying. This blog entry would have been ten times cooler had he been telling the truth. He eventually admitted to being a financial consultant. Hence, he has the means to buy all those designer shades and t-shirts.

A while later, I saw Tracey, so I said bye to my new faux-stripper friend. He wished me luck, which I could use these days. Soon enough, I’ll have good news to share with all of you. Just you wait.

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