I’ve been taking public transit now for about 6 days to get to the new job and I already have enough material to write a small book. Or maybe at least one blog.
Here are some of the highlights thus far:
-Last week, the guy in the seat across from me stared me down the whole time he was on the train. I was sure to not make eye contact, but he was so determined, he was even trying to catch my gaze in the window. When I finally turned, he smiled, nodded and said “how you doin?” I smiled and went back to ignoring him/him staring. Fortunately he got off the train a couple stops later, not before stopping outside my window and doing the smile/nod to me again.
-A guy on the the train I take from Hamilton to Trenton was making small talk while we waited for the train, which was traveling exceptionally slow, to finally stop. All seemed well until he began to talk about his time in NYC when the towers went down. The “where I was when it happened” conversation quickly turned to his “why me and the rest of New York knows it was an inside job.” I did my best to smile and nod my way through the rest of the conversation, which he continued off the train and up the escalator until our paths finally diverged.
-A well-dress man sat in the seat across from me and made pleasant small talk for a minute before we retreated back into our own worlds. At this time, he proceeded to massage lotion meticulously in his hands, being careful to give equal attention to every finger for the duration of the ride (about an hour). He also pulled out one of those “school picture day’ combs to groom his facial hair.
-A woman had what looked like a 7-year-old child in a stroller. How she still even fit in there I’m not sure. But the kid was throwing a tantrum and was big enough to lean out of the seat, grab her mom, pick up things on the ground, and probably do basic addition, subtraction, and maybe multiplication/division.
-Today, while on the train and listening to my iPod, a guy started to talk to me. I pretended to not hear him until he began to wave at me. I looked over, pulled the earbud from my ear and said, “yes?”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“What kind of a question?”
“Can I get your number?”
“No… sorry, buddy. I’m married.”
“Yeah, I am.”
“Well, can’t you have a friend? Can’t I call you?”
“What is it–am I not your type?”
“Sorry. My type is my husband.”
“Is it because I’m black?”
“It’s because I’m married.”
“How long have you been with him?”
“Oh… so what you’re saying is I’m 6 years too late?”
“Something like that.”
“Well, damn. You still is fine.”
Mind you, this was going on while I kept trying to ignore him/put my earbud back in. But the guy was persistent, moving from the seat across the aisle from me to the seat directly across from me. He sat there until he finally (thank God) got off 2 stops later.
-Not more than 3 stops after this, another guy got on the train and sat in the seat next to mine. He started talking loudly, I thought to someone else on the train, until I realized he was looking at me. I once again took out my earbud.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Oh, I was just saying how spacious the leg room is here! I was sitting on the other side, but it was so cramped. When I saw this seat was open, I immediately got up to get it. This is great!”
I smiled, and put my earbud back in.
He proceeded to talk. Mainly about legroom. I took out my earbud again. Said something to the effect of, “uh huh” and put it back in again. And then he started talking. Again. Finally, he was like, “It’s OK–just go back to your music or whatever. I’m about to do the same anyway.”
Gee, thanks for the permission…?
Of course, as we were getting off the train, he then commented on how many bags I had with me (a purse and a laptop case, making the grand total: 2) and how he thought he had a lot of bags (one), and how difficult it can be carrying all that stuff. And when he has his laptop… well, forget it. I smiled, nodded, and thankfully lost him in the crowd on the way to the next train.