Monday, November 07, 2005

Union Station is a kind of wandering hub, full of people coming to explore an unfamiliar city. Certainly, many of the people embarking from trains cannot be considered wanderers—business men off to a meeting at Golden Triangle, residents who are arriving home after an out-of-town stay—but the spirit of the locomotive, since the days of manifest destiny, seems to be one of wandering. I took my hand at wandering about this massive station, and found that it is much more than a transportation depot.
Feet clatter and voices echo in the great hall of the station, soaring high into the sky, the concrete roof adorned by art in an almost Renaissance fashion. People school like fish, trying to get onto trains and into the streets, waiting in endless lines to get a cab or sinking beneath the surface to board the Metro. This however, is only one level of the station. Smells of many fast food restaurants clog the air with a greasy delectability, and a few nicer institutions try to serve food terrace style within the massive building, tables arranged oddly within fenced-in areas on the expansive first floor. A mall attracts residents and out-of-towners alike with a myriad of store displays. Manikins contort in windows and signs advertise sales and products all throughout the station. Every few minutes a voice blares announcements of arriving and departing trains, and slight rumble of locomotive engines is omnipresent.
I find my way out of this microcosm, itself almost a tiny city where one may go grocery shopping, pick up a book, acquire clothing or gifts and board a train to find a new life. It was a wandering overload, where confused and wondrous faces converge to find a new experience. The Metro moans and howls as it sinks back underground to enter the station and I board my own train. I may not be looking for a new life, but I have found a new adventure.

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