Thursday, March 03, 2005
Fun on the El
1) Yesterday, coming home: I got one of my preferred seats, the singles that face sideways at the end of the car. This guy sits across from me, and I was entirely engrossed in my book but the occasional breathy groaning noises he emitted caught my attention. He was young, white, well-groomed... *too* well-groomed, with one of those silly newsboy caps and a mock turtleneck and a long tweed coat that he kept adjusting and rebuttoning. He was studiously reading an issue of High Times. Not that I take issue with the subject matter, but I know from long experience that those who read High Times, especially in public, are just trying too hard. Eventually, he finished the magazine and had nothing to do with his hands, so he got out a pack of imported cigarettes and carefully tapped the tobacco down for several minutes. Then he popped a cig in his mouth and pretended not to notice the death glares I was sending him across the aisle. He didn't light it, but he did play with his gold zippo for a few more minutes - flick, flame, snap shut, repeat - like Pyro in X2. Finally, we approached Belmont, and Mr. Cool strolled to the door, lit the cigarette, and got in a few very suave and self-assured puffs before the doors opened. If the collective glares of the people on the train could kill, he would have been vaporized before he reached the platform.
2) A guy smelling of rum and a few days past laundry day sat next to me today. I breathed shallowly and read my book, and just before Addison I finished the book and put it away. As we pulled into the station, he jumped out of the seat - "Is this your stop?" he said anxiously. Nope, next one, I said, so he sat back down. Before Irving Park, he leaped up again, and rather than step towards the end of the car to let me out, he preceded me all the way to the door, then stepped aside to let me by. He was just heading back towards the empty double seat when a small Asian woman darted into it, and last I saw of him, he stood swaying in the aisle, wondering where he went wrong.