Friday, November 03, 2006

IT WAS A DULL THUD, MR. BERNBECK

Now, this is entirely too judgmental: The other evening on the train home--apparently precisely the same I'd gone home a week earlier, I sat next to a girl I'd seen before. She is the type that has a short, pixie-ish haircut but really shouldn't. You know, her hair is maybe just a little too wavy for it, and her eyes are pulled back maybe a little too far, straying dangerously close to a position that might be considered vertical. Not snake-like, mind you, but distorted. Now perhaps the same--or at least equivalent--criticisms could be made of my hair quality and the x and y coordinates of my eyes, but I don't have a short, pixie-ish haircut, do I? Anyway, the other evening, I sat next to her and realized I'd seen her on the same train at the same time the week before. The week before, she was sitting adjacent to a young gentleman who struck up a conversation with her. It was one of those terribly embarrassing introductions in which the man is bold enough to propose an exchange of telephone numbers even in a crowded subway cars, the heavy purses and heavy stomachs of working-class women swaying back and forth as the train jostles across the Manhattan Bridge. I feld embarrassed for her, for him as well. I can sympathize. I've been in that situation, and in an effort to appease both the awkward man initiating a potential friendship and the cold, judgmental stares of onlookers, I try to use vague, ambiguous statements that suggest more like we're old friends, he and I, rather than total strangers. When, inevitably, the gentleman asks for my name, I chortle loudly and nudge his elbow, acting like of course he knows my name--we're old friends! Then I supply a fake name and an illegible phone number, and get out of there. In any case, this was apparently not the situation for Miss Pixie-cut-gone-awry, who rather calmy provided this gentleman with her contact information, dutifully fishing around in her purse until a writing instrument could be located. I listened in for awhile. Both were unique snowflakes in mortal danger of melting too quickly: she an aspiring actress, he a film student at the academy! Such biographical tidbits only embarrassed me further. So on this subsequent time that I saw this girl on the train, her pixie cut still going strong (as strongly as it was ever going for her), she was definitely not accompanied by the gentleman, and in fact, wore a pretty sour look on her face. In her hand she held some sort of contact slip with a phone number and a rather odd set of cryptic instructions about contact protocol. My first inclination was that it was a way for her to get in touch with a battered women's safehouse. Upon further inspection I realized--it was a call slip to be an extra in some TV show. Well, there you go.

2 comments:

Kurt said...

They all have that sour look on their face.

Geo said...

That have their sour face—they all look on.