I was on vacation last week and the one “vacation” thing I did is I went to DC to be a tourist for the day. I took the Bean, got on the metro and decided that The Holocaust Museum was going to be our destination. (I’ve wanted to go for a long time, so finally did)
The DC Metro, while it is a fine method of transportation to DC, it is not traditionally a social experience. When you get on the train, it is generally very quiet unless people are talking to people they came with. For example, during rush hour, the train is PACKED (standing room only – and barely), but NO one is speaking and you can hear everything anyone says because there is no one else speaking.
When I brought my daughter on the train in her stroller, I was caught off guard (although not shocked) that some other tourists spoke to me about her. It was an off time (not rush hour), they were clearly tourists… OK, not all that odd. On the way back, it was the beginning of rush hour. My stroller and I were taking more space than the norm for this time. This time of day generally presents a silent metro. I was nervous about getting glares – but instead I had conversations with several people – one of whom was a tourist – about my child. I found out that one woman and her family was going to be the sky for Halloween, discussing challenges of each costume. I talked about a man’s 3 year old son and how much his life changes as the child grows and changes. I found out that one man (the tourist) was a retired doctor and his thoughts about flu shots. It was very odd. Very very odd. Enjoyable. Pleasant. Shocking.
I realized that adults don’t talk to each other, btu remembered that kids generally do. Kids will just go up and talk to a new kid and invite them to play. Parents will talk to other parents with relative ease (because of the kids).
So my social experiment that was thrust upon me, I know that if you add babies – conversations will follow… EVEN on the DC Metro.