Overheard in Transit (2)

November 17th

“Ladies and gentleman! I have an announcement to make! Tomorrow, I am getting married (someone starts clapping) to March! My paper clip!!”

This was bizarre. It was around 10.30pm and I was coming home from a wonderful dinner with a friend. The train pulled into the station and as I and other passengers were leaving, this mid 20s woman started shouting. She was able to grab the attention of the entire train car – who doesn’t want to hear about a wedding? – create feelings of goodwill and excitement, and then leave us stranded on an island of confusion and bemusement. Did I really hear paper clip? Why is it called March? At the end of her announcement our collective bewilderment was palpable, but the woman continued chattering away with the person she was travelling with as though nothing had happened. I should note, she was sober (it appeared) and sane. I guess this was just her idea of a fun time.

 

November 17th
“We didn’t even eat lunch yet, I’m not eating two lollipops!”

I was sharing a train car with a group of students who looked to be around 12 or 13. Everyone – even their teachers – had a lollipop, the hard candy kind with gum or chocolate in the centre. The lollipops caused much happiness and conversation. For example, before this boy’s declaration, some students were jealous of another boy who had somehow managed to get two lollipops. They went running to a teacher to ask for a second one for themselves and were denied. They came back, telling Two Lollipop that he was in big.trouble., but clearly still disappointed not to be in the same boat. A few minutes later, after some  more lollipop-related conversation, Proud One Lollipop made the above exclamation. It was cute, funny and unexpected. Here are all his classmates clamoring for as much candy as possible, and he’s steadfast in his desire to… preserve his appetite for lunch? Not overdo it on the sugar because it’s too early in the day? I can totally relate though. I’ve long held strict ideas about what to eat and when – breakfast for dinner? unacceptable! – I’m only just coming around to that idea. If I were in this class I’d be almost like Proud One Lollipop, the difference being that I would want a second lollipop, I would just save it for later. 😉

 

November 16th
“I wanna figure out a list of things to do before the end of the world. I wanna be the first nigga from the hood to skydive.”

One black guy to another black guy, and I’m not sure if by “the end of the world” he meant in general or as a result of Trump’s election. In any event, another thing on his list is to rent a really fast car and drive over 200mph.

But back to skydiving – I started paying attention after this comment because I wondered, why does he think he would be the first guy from the hood to skydive? In the history of skydiving? Seems completely implausible to me. What about Lil Wayne, Rae Sremmurd, Fetty Wap… I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that a trap rapper has gone sky diving. Or even someone like Rick Ross or DJ Khaled. Turns out I didn’t need to look that far, because this man’s friend had already been sky diving. When he said that, Bucket List flipped. I can’t remember what he said exactly, but there was arm flailing, wow-ing and other expressions of amazement and enthusiasm haha. What does his surprise say about the kind of expectations he (and other people like him) have for his community? I know that as a society we’re working towards equal opportunity for all, and we like to admire the progress we’ve made in that regard, but this exchange shows us that there’s much work to be done; not just in creating opportunities, but in making pipe dreams seem entirely ordinary.

 

November 16th
“I have too many addictions.”

Ohh my goodness. I was sitting opposite two old women, who looked to be in their 80s. Both of them were white, and one of them seemed very prim and proper. Her hair was in a cute skim-the-shoulder bob, she was dressed conservatively in a skirt and sweater, and I noticed a wedding band. She could be anyone’s grandmother. The other woman seemed like more of a free spirit. Unlike her friend, her clothes didn’t have any grandma patterning. Her hair was a little wild and tangly, and she was missing a good many teeth. This is the woman who said she had too many addictions.

Already an odd pairing, I was shocked when I heard her declaration. What in the world could Grandma have been suggesting to Not-Your-Grandma?! And what addictions did Not-Your-Grandma have? Do they explain her lamentable lack of teeth? I’d like to think that Grandma said that she should try a sleeping pill, but that has more to do with her appearance than any context clues.

I was also surprised by how cavalier the women were with their conversation. They were speaking on the loud side, with Not-Your-Grandma the louder of the two. I could tell they were discussing personal subjects, and was trying not to listen to their conversation, but there was no missing “I have too many addictions”! I’m not one of those people that are good at discreetly observing the person your friend points out to you, so I doubt that I was at all subtle when I looked up from my book in shock (although I know I tried to be haha). This didn’t bother either of the women at all, and they continued their mysterious conversation. Maybe they’ve lived in New York so long that they’re totally comfortable having private conversations in public. Maybe their age is what made them so bold. Either way, what a thing to hear from octogenarians!

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