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.