Saturday, August 08, 2015

Ghost Town: Washington DC

Thousands of people travel through the Washington DC Metro system every day, so it's an odd feeling to go down the escalator to the platform and no one is around. The next train arrives, the doors open, you walk in and no one is there.

It's not often three things converge that result in a ghost train:

  • The empty train with no one in it
  • The station where no one else gets on
  • The time of day where no one else is around yet

It reminds me of my own story I'm working on, called "The Ghost Subway Train" in which the narrator goes on a ride on a ghost subway train around the world.

I also had the feeling that "everyone is somewhere else," something like that scene from Woody Allen's movie Stardust Memories when he sees a party on a passing train.

The Ghost Town theme was in the air all morning. For long stretches on the Mt. Vernon Trail, I saw no one else around, even though hundreds if not thousands of people use it every day.

Afterward, I went to a Starbucks that used to be bursting with customers at every table. This time, just a few seats were taken.

Everybody is somewhere else and wherever I go is a "ghost town."

I could chalk it up to a coincidence, and no doubt the long odds against all this will come up every once in a great while, like hitting the lottery. That would be the rational, scientific way of looking at it. All variations will arise over a long period of time.

It makes no sense to say that "unseen forces" are at work and the "ghost town" aspect is the result of someone's deliberate plan.

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