Msnowe's Blog

Transom

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on December 29, 2009

Typing away as sure as ever. I couldn’t make out what was being scripted on that tiny little screen adjacent, but I knew that the fury, or the flourish with which he stroked the keys was probably more emphasized than any flourish he might use to stroke his neat and close-clipped ginger beard. Upon quickly choosing his seat next to me, the man made a quick call on his cell phone to someone he was obviously riding the bus to meet, and then settled in his aisle seat and ignored my presence for the duration. This was fine, in fact, preferred. He was unobtrusive and didn’t smell. Of course, having not really gotten a look at him while he stowed his baggage, curiosity urged me to take sly glances while pretending to look in a slightly different direction. This was all to get a better picture of him, perhaps for a story. Who knew he would be the one able to type away and formulate some unknown piece with his practically microscopic computer. Well, the bus ride was without incident, and that little compact man bolted as soon as the bus got to under 15 miles-per-hour near the underground gate at Port Authority. Before I knew it, I was staring down at his computer, which had fallen out of his bag and lay like a miniscule plastic folder on the sticky, wrapper-ridden floor of the bus. Looking around, no one seemed to notice, as they jetted for the exits, that the man left his belonging, and no one seemed to care that I picked it up and deftly slipped it into my canvas bag. It added practically no weight to my person. I would’ve run after him, but I had to pick up my bag in the lower outside compartment of the bus, and felt a grim satisfaction in the idea that even though this man was guarded about what he wrote on his laptop, the technology willed me to read it. Read it I must. So here follows what I came to find as a list of notes saved as “Thruway” (the most recent document opened) on this dapper man’s computer:

*********

Dialogue Notes: Two college-aged girls. One blond, the other brown-haired with highlights. Seat directly behind:

–So, I’ve got all these amazing ideas for funny youtube video sketches. Sometimes the ideas just pop into my head and they come too fast, I can’t even write them down. Like, this one–listen to this–So I stand in the middle of Union Street, you know, where Union College is? And I’m wearing this big puffy white wedding dress. And I’m crying and yelling and visibly upset. Well, my friend, this black guy, he’s actually more of a “friend of convenience,” since he knows how to shoot videos and download them on youtube, he’ll pretend to be Tiger Woods, and I’ll be screaming at him and all that. Isn’t that kind of funny? And then, if the cops tell me to get out of the road–well, actually, I’m a pretty girl in a dress, so they wouldn’t even, would they?


–So my friend _ _ _ _, she always complains how I’m sooooo much skinnier than her. Like it’s an argument worth having, as if I can’t just stand right next to her and be like, ‘Look, you’re thinner!’ It’s the stupidest argument in the entire world, don’t you agree? Aren’t I fatter than her? (Yes.) So I said–look, your label says ‘size four,’ mine says ‘size five.’ I’m obviously bigger!  Def fatter, ugh.


–Seriously, if you find any those gold-colored thongs when you go shopping, please pick me up a size medium, and I’ll pay you back–now that Joyce Leslie is closed, I can’t find a decent place to buy them.


–What an asshole. It’s like we’re already married anyway. What is it, ‘common law’ or something? We’ve been together like 9 years… (Seven years is for common law). Yeah, so we’re practically wedded. His friend is totally into me, by the way–you know when somebody just gets you? When they think everything that comes out of your mouth is fucking hilarious? Well, that is this guy–every time we hang out. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I cheated on my boyfriend with his best friend? I mean, then not only would he be pissed, he’d have no one to complain to, because hey, that’s his friend. (Silence). But I wouldn’t do that. I’m not that mean. But it’s fun to think about.


–So my dad stopped me from using my cell phone all week, because I texted too many times. So he actually took it and turned it off. Now I have no way to know who called unless they left a message. And I got like two texts on Christmas from boys I like. Wouldn’t you, if you were those boys, think I’m a total asshole for not texting them back? They probably hate me now. Oh, so when we get in the city, if we get separated, we should meet at Rockefeller Center, because I have no phone and can’t call you. (That’s scary). I know, right!


–So I’m not going to post anymore status updates on Facebook for a while, because he commented and liked my last status, and I want Everyone to see it, because they will.


–Speaking of Facebook, did you see that picture of _ _ _ _ with her mom when she went home to visit? She was wearing a full on sari, and the dot. But her boyfriend wasn’t even there. And it wasn’t like his family was there–why wear that get-up for her mom? That guy is totally brainwashing her or something. I’m like ‘you’re white!’ I really want to comment on that picture, but I know she’ll just delete the comment. But at least she’d see it and know how I feel.

********

This was, verbatim, what the two girls (well, mostly the one) were talking about on the bus. I knew he was listening. I tried to catch his eye and bond over some type of mutual commiseration at this situation–I had tried reading, using my earphones, but nothing could be done but listen to these girls and their oh-so-interesting, yet un-self-aware conversation. I had scanned the circumference of the passengers that sat around them, and found that most people also gave up their pursuits of distraction and could almost see their ears bending in the girls’ direction. The girls weren’t yelling, or laughing, but their voices carried exceptionally well on this otherwise silent bus. As amazing as I found their conversation (while feeling a bit guilty because even though it was ridiculous, conversations also sound more crazy when standing apart from them), all the more amazing did I find their complete lack of awareness (or perhaps lack of concern) at the subtle attention and smirks they were receiving even three aisles up. The two men in front of my bearded cohort and I bonded at first just by simultaneous smirks and snorts. An odd couple–one was a co-ed lacrosse player from U Albany, the other a well-dressed, bespectacled, balding thin man reading a large volume by Ford Maddox Ford. Eventually, as the conversation of the girls two seats back from them progressed, they began to add whispered commentary, which I could not entirely make out. It was like Mystery Science Theater on the Greyhound.

While at first I envied the comradery of the two men, it got me thinking about irony, and who “gets it,” and the compassion that is missing from jokes not only at another’s expense, but at a whole, living personality. Surely, the girls were misguided, and hilarious to eavesdrop upon. But something about their innocence, their either blatant disregard for who heard them, or their ignorance to those around them listening and judging….

While it was depressing to think these were representatives of my gender, somehow, they came off that bus a little better than the “knowing” smirkers in front of me. At the very least, they made for a more interesting ride, and more interesting notes. Of course, that bearded man may never polish that story off.

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