Ooh, Shiny!

I have never talked with a complete stranger on the subway. Complete strangers have talked to me, but that's usually because they're crazy.

Last night after work, I'm waiting for the N train. As it comes around the bend into the station, it looks different. Then I realize: it's one of the brand new trains. At this point, being a total subway geek, I get excited, because I had seen pictures, but now I would get to see the real thing, complete with the most awesome strip maps ever.

I walk onto the train in a state of awe. An attractive young woman, seated in front of me, looks up while I watch the new map change.

"It's awesome, isn't it," she asks. I have no idea she's talking to me, until I look down in the general direction of where I heard the voice. Holy crap. She is talking to me. And she doesn't sound too crazy. I cautiously respond.

"Yeah... it is," is the best reply I can come up with.

"I love watching people's reactions as they get on the train," she goes on. "They look totally lost... like they're someplace they shouldn't be."

That's actually a fairly lucid comment. Now I'm pretty sure she's not crazy at all. But being that I'm not an expert on subway small-talk, all I can say is, "I like the video screens. They're a nice touch."

"Yeah." Awkward silence, interrupted by, "this is... 49th Street."

"I hear they're going to put video ads on those screens," I remark. I did a little reading up on these trains earlier.

"Really? That's awesome," she says. "Not like we need more advertising on the trains, though." She makes a good point.

At this point, a scary-looking bearded homeless man boards the train. He overhears our conversation and decides to chime in himself. "These trains talk," he says.

Me and the woman look at each other. I try to steer the conversation back towards her by saying, "they're testing these for a month to work all the kinks out. It's good, they need them on the N line."

Crazy Homeless Man chimes in again, mumbling incoherently about the train being bright and shiny and the benches looking comfortable for sleeping (I wish I was kidding about that).

Me and the woman look at each other one more time. She starts to open her mouth to say something, and Crazy Homeless Man is still yapping. We both realize that the only way to stop Crazy Homeless Man from talking to us is to stop talking to each other.

Crazy Homeless Man hovers over us all the way to Union Square. I get off the train without saying a word to the woman. So much for small talk on the subway.

20 Moments of Idiocy:

Blogger Z. Madison said...

Chin up there, EVI! Perhaps you'll see her again...

They do sound like cool cars. I may have to venture to the N line just to check them out, because you know the MTA won't show the F line love anytime soon.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous rod said...

i rode one today. coming home from, well, some fun. as i hadn't been on a subway for 36 hours or so the thought in my head was that maybe i'd been out for more than just a night and a morning. maybe i'd been out for, like, years.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Miss Liberty said...

you should ride that train at the approx. same time every day until you find her again. this time give her your manifesto and some perfume and ask her out to her favorite meal that she certainly couldn't very well turn down being offered by such a harmless regular good guy such as yourself. U R A douchebag and you advertise it. WHY?

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus. I think Gawker readers come up with any excuse to insult bloggers. This was funny. Miss Liberty, get a fucking life.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the video screen ads don't come with sound.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Not Chosen said...

At least he didn't start telling you that you were on the "Gospel Train" before introducing you to his hat-collection plate.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

Not so bad really. Yesterday on my way into work, a crazy one-legged man hit me with his crutch because I didn't give him any money.

7:49 PM  
Blogger gerryvisco said...

It's funny how women find you irresistible. Did you ever think you hallucinated this whole episode? Perhaps it was the homeless man who you thought was the young hot woman chatting with you. Or perhaps it was the woman who nervously crossed the street that night, thinking you were a stalker-rapist?

Dude, did you ever try going to a bar to meet chicks? Try it!

12:23 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot that bars are the only place to meet women in New York. And clearly, this blog post was all about trying to pick up women on the subway, and not about the fact that I've never had a conversation with a stranger on the subway before.

I guess the intentions of my writing have to be more clear. I'll be sure to spell everything out in grade-school terms from now on.

2:42 AM  
Blogger lilacsaft said...

Chris- what the hell is with these people from Gawker posting all these immature, not even remotely intelligent or creative insults about you? Don't they have anything better to do? Frankly, I think your blog is witty with a touch of sarcasm, just like you are in real life. I wouldn't tone it down at all- in fact, I probably would not even give them the satisfaction of replying to their inane commentary.

As someone who lives in a big city, I love your honesty about the things that annoy you- it doesn't make you an asshole, it makes you just like the rest of us who have the urge to spout off every now and then, too. Your blog is your right to put it out there. Anyone who posts insults is not worthy of your time, because unfortunately for them, they don't know what a great guy you are.

Keep it up. And have a great weekend! -Emily

PS- I signed up for an account just so I could leave this message- that's how outraged I am at how people have been treating you. Don't expect me to actually blog anything, though :-)

10:42 AM  
Blogger mrsmogul said...

Did you go to Starbucks after you got off the train? I have;t met a CRAZY HOMELESS MAN in ages!!

3:21 PM  
Anonymous *sigh* said...

Angry, unimaginative, ranting bloggers give me gas. Thanks, Miss Liberty and gerryvisco. Now my office smells like...well...that drivel you call a comment.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linked here from Gawker, have to say that your post is both interesting (woot! robot-y trains!) and insightful, as we humans try hard not to interact with eachother these days and therefore any interaction risks being awkward. The Gawker comment posters make rude comments on Gawker too, don't feel bad. :D Thanks for the post, made me smile.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous amy analog said...

would it have killed you to have included the homeless guy in your conversation? he was just trying to make a connection, as you were.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Pink Lemonade Diva said...

I guess the witty, semi-audible conductor announcements are a dying art now, eh?

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i linked here from gawker. i'm not here to make insults. i really wanted to read about the new trains, but i just have to say, in all fairness, that your lack of detail about how or why the homeless man was crazy kind of makes you sound a little classist. i'm sure you're not and he probably did seem really weird at the time, but your story doesn't do a very good job of illustrating that. so, it sounds like you just assumed he was crazy because he's homeless. also, unrelated, how are the new talking trains different from the trains that currently announce the stop with an automated voice? thanks.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole premise of having a talk with a stranger on a train is absolutely mind-boggling to this Southerner. We talk to everybody, everywhere. What is the big deal about talking to people up there?

We want to know how ya are, who ya are, who your people are, whatcha doin, what are you making for supper, just anything.

It is just not mannerly to ignore each other.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it that the thing that got you to finally talk to a stranger on the subway was the fact that it was an automated train - take the humanity out of the train, give it to the passengers! It's sort of a New York fairytale.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yo, emily, chill, darlin. yet another person here who never heard of idiot until he got mentioned in the much better-known gawker. yan know what they say, the only bad press is no press. yet, i don't know that i'll be back -- can you point me to some of the better posts in this blog?

yo, idiot, i get why u didn't want to talk to crazy, homelss guy -- cuz once you start engaging that type, they latch onto u and don't know when to stop, so ignore the critics on this one. it isn't classism, it is protecting your space -- and sanity.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Dr.T said...

I like reading Gawker, but reading comments here and some other places they've linked, I'm not too sure I like the company. Some people are too hip for their own good. And I second Anonymous from the South - down here you can be anonymous online, but sure as heck not out in real life.

7:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home