Yesterday I was walking to the subway when I felt a strong presence swooping up behind me. I sensed it was a mom and kids, which isn’t unusual in the morning but the speed they were catching up and bearing down on me with was out of the ordinary, as local families tend to lollygag and clog up the sidewalk flow. My iPod was cancelling out most noise, but I could still hear that the mom was screaming and ranting and I assumed she was chewing out someone on a phone, likely the dad, but then as they caught up to me I noticed she wasn't on the phone and then we were kind of neck and neck because I refuse to let (most) people walk faster than me and it became apparent she was losing her shit with her kids because they were late for something and she wouldn't let up and was scary and as we got into the station and onto the platform the G just showed up and I never ever take the G in the morning (only home) but it was so damn humid and jungle hot that I just jumped on to cool off and so did the creepy family (which surprised me because the F is more family oriented) and they sat right across from me and I made a point of turning up my iPod volume because first thing in the morning you must do everything possible to stay focused and not lose your shit before even starting work.
But it was hard not to stare at this family even though I was tuning out the auditory component because there was something grotesque about the mom’s behavior and the children’s appearance. The kids were maybe in the 6-8 year old range and hyper blonde, boney, bespectacled, nearly albino with those pale eyelashes. Kind of like borderline Progeria victims. I’m assuming they were going to lessons or day camp since they both had tennis rackets. (It appears that white kids are done with school, I know this observationally and anecdotally from coworkers, but the public school is still in session, a fact that's indisputable from the shrieking still outside my bedroom window in the morning. I'd anticipated the peace and quiet to kick in this week, but so far no luck.)
At Clinton-Washington, four stops later, a guy not smart enough to steer clear of this off-putting clan, sat in the empty seat next to the two geriatric looking kids. Like I said, I couldn’t hear what was being said, but judging from the mom’s mouth which never stopped moving, she was in some didactic chiding mode. It started becoming comical. I noticed the youngish, freckly, business casual guy that had sat down was also mesmerized/horrified by this freak show, especially since he didn’t have on earphones.
I was amused watching him watching the mom and made super brief eye contact and I subtly semi-smiled to imply are we the only two hearing this shit? I just don’t do that sort of thing ever, as I don’t care to bond with strangers and it feels needlessly flirtatious (yeah, I live like it’s Deadwood era and simply being an unaccompanied woman is brazen).
I also took the G home, which I do 90% of the time. After grabbing a seat, I noticed that same guy from my morning commute was sitting across from me again. Very weird. (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m always amazed that I never ever see the same people on the subway. I almost always leave home around 8:17am and the commuters on the platform are always different. Evening is more variable and I could leave anywhere from 5:45pm to 6:10pm.) I felt nervous and became engrossed in my Cooking Light so I wouldn’t have to see if he was noticing me or not. It’s a good 30 minutes before we get to his stop so trying not to scan the subway in case of accidental eye contact was tough.
Tonight on the way home I got a pick of seats at the end of the line, which is good because you get to sit, but bad because it means there’s a long wait before the train decides to start moving. I look up and that guy is settling in right across from me again. He was like, “weird, three times” and I started laughing because it really was bizarre. And then I got all scared and didn’t know what to say and put my earphones back in and tried not to look at him even though he was like ten feet away in my direct line of vision.
This time he wasn’t wearing oxford, slacks and wingtips, but was kind of ‘90s west coast, if that means anything. Like skate type tennis shoes, jeans (off his ass with boxers hanging out), a tee shirt that said REAL in AC/DC font, chain link necklace and hint of goatee. Suburban, and so not NYC (where moustaches and aviator shades seem to rule) like he’d listen to Good Charlotte or some crap. Very much not my type, I don’t know maybe fifteen years ago (which reminds me of a rooftop party I was at Sat. where guys were born in 1986. Sure they’re cute and funny, but it’s freaky to think that someone in your dating pool [not my pool per se, but female friends born in 1972 like me] was a freshman in 2000) but I couldn’t help but steal glances like sense needed to be made of this paths crossing business. A few years ago even I would've interpreted this three times thing to be fraught with meaning. Now I lean towards happenstance, pure and simple. But I swear, if I run into this guy a fourth time I might have to hump him or something just to set things right.
*BART image courtesy of Screed.