The Adventures of an Awkward Train Rider: An Extraordinarily Ordinary Day



I’ve decided to put together a little anthology of my interactions with strangers on the train. This is the first episode, so to speak. I hope you guys enjoy them…


 I get on and sit down in the vestibule area. By the way, am I the only one who thinks that word sounds like a strange internal organ? It sounds like I’m sitting inside the train’s liver or something.

In a few minutes the other characters in this ordinary adventure join me: a guy in a business suit sits across from me, a middle-aged mother sits next to me and a young black woman sits next to her. The guy in the suit looks all-business–pun intended–and I don’t expect him to join us in this adventure. The black girl is fairly attractive, has apparently just gotten a perm and I find myself imagining that if we were in a movie and the train got taken over by terrorists and the Vestibule Crew had to team up against them and a romantic plot started brewing up between me and her I’d have to inform her that I’m already in a serious relationship.

Why does my brain always do that?

The mom seems nice—like the kind of mom who would go see Justin Beiber concerts with her daughter and try to rap along with Drake in the car just to make her son laugh.

Unlike the other normal people on the train  who are probably thinking about really important things that are going on in their lives, I’m trying to come up with a way to start a conversation with the Mom. But before I can think of anything, she beats me to the punch.

“My scree rae.”

“I’m sorry?”

“My scree rae.” She’s whispering and showing me her iPhone and I don’t want to ask her to repeat it again so I just smile and nod. But she frowns and shows me her phone again. I’m not supposed to be happy about whatever she’s showing me. So I raise my eyebrows, make a sad face and shake my head. It’s an Oscar performance in my opinion, but she’s not buying it.

“My screen changed,” she says again.

Oh. And that’s when I notice that the picture of her and her son she has as her background looks like the negative of a photo. I’m guessing she didn’t want it to look like that, but I’m Team Android and have no idea how to help her.

“I know what happened,” the black girl chimes in and I’m shocked at how sweet her voice sounds. I had really expected her to sound like Kerry Washington. Mom gives her phone up and the girl works her magic and within seconds the picture is back to normal.

Shortly after, Mr. Suit drops a very classified-looking folder on the floor and for a brief moment of insanity I think about picking it up. All sorts of scenarios play out in my mind as to why that wouldn’t be a good idea. He’s a stock broker and that folder contains the investment portfolio of every CEO in the world. He’s an international spy and those are nuclear launch codes. Either way, everyone else seems to be thinking the same thing because we all pretend we didn’t see anything and he picks it up on his own.

“I’m reading Divergent,” the Mom says to me.

“Oh really?” I say. “How do you like it?”

“It’s alright,” she shrugs. “I’m reading it with my son.”

I knew she was one of those moms. That’s so sweet.

“Did you read the Hunger Games?” I ask her.

“Yeah. And saw the movie too.”

Right when I feel like the conversation’s going somewhere, she gets a text and that’s the end of it. I’m guessing it’s from one of her kids. I’m close enough to read it to find out, but more scenarios play out as to why that wouldn’t be a good idea and I sit in silence for the rest of the ride home.

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