Tom Minter's Off The Stoop Blog

a playwright's journey, creating, connecting, and conversing.

The W4

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I am facilitating an after school program at Arts & Technology Academy, in the NE.

Coming from Dupont I can either take the bus, along U street, across DC, nipping into a corner of the South East, then over the Anacostia River, and into the North East to reach school; or I can take the Metro subway at Dupont Circle, change at Metro Center, from the Red Line to the Blue, take that to Benning Road, come up onto East Capitol Street, catch the #97 to 53rd and East Capitol, and cross over the few blocks I need.

..or, I can take the W4 at East Capitol Street.

This morning I’d a meeting at ATA at 9AM; connections are never quite as facilitating as you’d want, so I would have to catch the first ‘leg’, of whatever I was taking, by 7:30.

My cup of coffee wasn’t really hot enough; the lack of dawn made this dark of day even more disconcerting; no one should have to face 6:30 AM.

Turning on the TV for the weather and first look at the news was automatic; coffee, news; meeting prep.

But this morning’s realities left me with other thoughts.

A little earlier than my awakening, there had been a murder on the W4; the details, at the moment I caught the news, were sketchy; the bus was on its morning meander through the South East –a gunmen as well; an altercation ensued. The gun was used; someone was killed.

It must be said, the DC Metro system is remarkable; where the subway doesn’t reach, the busses do.

The map of that facilitation looks like the trail of an immense army of jumbling, cross-stitching spiders; a far-flung and restless webbing, traversing the breadth of unseen DC. This is not convenience it is conveyance, as the map reveals no fast rule of rhyme or reason, but a trek of lines that weave through almost every neighborhood, and challenged ward of this city.

..in the slow creep towards light, in these brisk fall mornings, it is not only Federal workers, lobbyists and lawyers who travel these lines –it is families; parents, bringing children and babies to school or kindergarten, who start out even earlier than dawn so as to be able to set their offspring into the right momentum of the day, delivered into safe halls, hopeful of opportunity and education..

In my travel across the District this morning all I could think of was the W4 route, and when I got to East Capitol and 44th Street, NE, all there was to see, on the four vast corners of the boulevard, were bus shelters of kids, young and younger, waiting for a bus..

Daily dangers ply along the lines of communities in this city; daily, parents step out to guide, to work, to lead, to keep the warmth of home just a little longer on the shoulders of their children..

The choices they make, in the chill dark hours of morning, should not have to be open to such harrowing serendipity..

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Written by tomminteroffthestoop

October 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM

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