An X2-Rated Love Story
The X2 bus line has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Yes, the line that runs from downtown to H Street NE and ends east of the Anacostia River at the Minnesota Avenue Metro stop is notorious for its overcrowding. And, yes, it made headlines last year when a woman allegedly assaulted the driver on her bus, which prompted other riders to share their tales of danger and adventure from their commutes on the wild bus line.
But recently the bus has been home to some happier times. A woman went into labor on an X2 last week, and now, City Desk received word of an engaged couple that first met on the bus.
Jessica Meyers, 32, a reporter at Politico, was on the bus one Friday evening in May 2012 with a friend talking about their journalism jobs. (Note: That friend happened to be Washington City Paper's Jessica Sidman.) A man sitting next to them, Jeff Kearns, 39, a reporter for Bloomberg, overheard his fellow journalists and joined the conversation
"They were right next to me, so it was impossible not to," Kearns says of his eavesdropping.
Meyers admits that while sitting next to Kearns, she glanced at his phone and saw that they had received the same press releases. Once they started chatting, they discovered they had more in common than just press lists: They both went to journalism grad school at Berkeley, worked at the Dallas Morning News at different times, and knew many of the same people in the journalism world.
"It was bizarre how much they discovered they had in common in a five-minute time span," says Sidman, who takes credit for their relationship—Meyers was only on the bus to accompany her on a City Paper food assignment at Toki Underground.
In typical D.C. fashion, the two exchanged business cards, though neither thought too much of the short bus ride. But Sidman did. As soon as Kearns got off the bus, she predicted that this would be a story they would tell their future kids.
"Looking back on our situation, had it been too overcrowded on that day, things could have gone a lot differently," Kearns says.
With some prodding from Sidman, Meyers tried to text Kearns to meet up with for a drink while they waited to be seated at Toki Underground, but she accidentally sent the text to a wrong version of his office number.
Kearns, however, played it cool, and emailed her a few days letter to see if she wanted to have "a swift one."
"I thought either this guy is pretty creative with words or he's crazy," she says.
Meyers opted for the former, and the two went to Lincoln on their first date.
Kearns proposed this past February in Paris, and while the couple has no plans to incorporate the X2 into their wedding plans later this year, Myers said her Facebook announcement of her engagement included a photo of her on the X2 donning the new ring.
And although they recognize the X2's flaws, they live in the H Street NE neighborhood and still ride the bus line. Meyers says her X2 love story is the ultimate case for public transit.
"I feel kind of guilty every time we take a Uber. We could be taking the X2," she says. "Never underestimate the power of public transportation."
Photo courtesy of photographer Paul Morse