Overheard in Transit

June 17th
“I’m really proud of you mami. (About a minute later) I’m gonna get the patch ok? You graduated so I’m gonna learn to stop smoking.”

This was a mother to her young daughter. She wasn’t old enough to have graduated from high school, so in my mind I assumed she must have finished 6th grade. But I realise now that US schools operate differently, and it’s more likely that the ceremony was to mark the end of 8th or 9th grade. Whatever the grade level, we were on a jam packed 4 train, heading uptown. The mother was oblivious to my and others’ bemused reaction to her statement. She was just so proud! It was sweet, despite the oddness of her logic that graduating was a token for which she could exchange her cigarette habit. Maybe she thought that they both require a lot of effort and are recognised as accomplishments… but her daughter is so young! How does this transition even count as a milestone? I don’t think graduations are even necessary until you finish high school. Anyway, that’s just me, and part of the reason I found her comments so unusual.


June 9th
“I sprayed him with bleach and then I spanked him with the mop.”

Whaaaat?! I thought as a woman around my age walked onto the car saying this into her phone. For whatever reason, I assumed she meant a toddler, and even after she finished her sentence and I knew it had to be an animal, I couldn’t shake that idea. Needless to say, it created a funny picture in my mind of her chastising this morphing human/animal child in her home for whatever offence they had committed.


June 2nd
“My ear came off this morning!”

I have no clue. I was bewildered then as I am now, trying to make sense of this exclamation. All I know is that a woman said this to what seemed like a male stranger sitting next to her. I was too far away from them to glean anymore information about the woman or the context or the conversation. That was part of the fun of overhearing this though, because she said it so loudly and it was so random.

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