Normally I’ve got my Discman playing when I ride the train in the morning. This morning, however, I did not – so I was able to observe two separate conversations that will make up the two acts to my screenplay: One called “Cuteness”, the other called “Annoyance.”
Act One: Cuteness
Scene: I’m standing on the inbound platform at the Porter Sqaure red-line station. An earthy/crunchy, stereotypical Cambridge couple (40-ish) stands next to me with their bundled-up little boy (perhaps 5 or 6 years old).
Earth Dad: Don’t stand too close the yellow line, Billy.
Earth Dad: Because the train will be coming soon and you can’t stand too close
Earth Dad: Well, the trains can come pretty fast
(note: at this point – they’d been standing there perhaps 30 seconds)
Boy: Wow, this is the longest I’ve ever waited for anything…EVER!
Earth Mom: The train will be here soon.
Boy: Why are there 3 rails for the train?
Earth Dad: Well, that’s because….
Boy: (interrupts Earth Dad) Are the wheels at different heights? The rail is higher than the others.
Earth Dad: That’s why you stay behind the yellow line. The higher rail makes the train move.
Earth Dad: Electricity.
Boy: Oh. Can we go to the snack bar when we get on the train?
Anyway, I thought that was so cute (and I usually can’t stand children). I love the idea of a snack bar on the subway, too. Sometimes, you need to think outside the box.
Act 2: Annoyance
Scene: Crowded subway car heading inbound from Porter Sqaure to Harvard Square. I’m standing with a 50-ish woman in front of me. We’ll call her Denise. Among the crowd to my left stands a 20-something female who boarded the train after me. We’ll call her Kathy.
Denise: Hey, Kathy
Kathy: Hi, Denise. How are you doing?
Denise: Ugh. I decided not to drive today because of the snow. (big sigh)
Kathy: Oh? How was it?
Denise: (HUGE, over-the-top sigh). Ugh. I took the commuter rail to Porter Square, then grabbed the subway from there.
Kathy: Was it bad.
Denise: I can’t wait until I can drive again. I nearly didn’t get off at Porter because the ride was so quick, I didn’t realize I was already there. In fact, I started falling asleep!
Kathy: Oh, really?
Denise: Yeah, Even with the snow it took much less time than when I normally drive in with good weather.
Denise: I know.
(Note: the train slows down to enter Harvard Square – which is the final destination for Denise, Kathy and me. Apparently, we all work for Harvard).
Denise: Oh my God. We’re here already? Wow, that was fast.
Kathy: Yeah, it’s only one stop from Porter. I take the subway everyday.
Denise: Oh, well this is enough for me. I’ll be happy when the weather clears up and I can drive again.
I hate Denise. Her ride was restful enough for her to nearly fall asleep, it took less time than her normal driving commute (despite the aftermath of a blizzard), and public transit is better for the environment. Yet she still bitched and moaned about the commute even though she had nothing negative to say? I’m serious – you should have heard her overly-dramatic sighing. It’s as if she had exhausted herself (or stooped down to a lower social level) by taking public transit. Meanwhile, it took her less time than ever and she got to rest. Screw her. I hope she goes into poverty because her SUV guzzles more gas than her paultry Harvard salary can afford.
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