The hardest part about riding the train is knowing where to look. Staring out the window is your best bet, unless you’re crammed in a middle seat. You could look at the floor, but the man sitting across you begins twitching until he puts his backpack on his lap. No, dude, I wasn’t staring at your lap. You could look far ahead of you, but now he’s worried I’m staring into his eyes.
I’ve stuck with my iPad mini reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, but when the train is full, people get nosy. Like on Monday I’m reading a chapter called “Hooking Up Is Confusing” and the thirty-year old man sitting next to me wearing a plaid shirt and beanie looks at the chapter heading and chuckles. As if a friend just told him about the craziest night with some random chick and he’s like, “Oh dude, I’ve been there.”
A couple days later I finished Mindy’s book, so I thought I’d read Ether from the Book of Mormon, which is 15 quick chapters . Then some blonde girl sitting next to me begins hovering. I realize she’s reading with me, but the thing is, she starts reading faster than me. So she reads, gets to the bottom of my iPad, sighs impatiently, and looks out the window. When I scroll down to new text, she straightens up and hovers again. Like, dude, get your own damn word of God!
Or the old man this week sitting across from me, who said “It’s a fine day outside!” And looks at me for a response. I ignore him blatantly and continue reading. The nice girl sitting next to me does a quick “Mhm.” There’s only a small pause before he says, “Kids these days. They sit around and stare at that plastic all day. No care in the world to actually look up and talk to people.
I see Nice Girl’s cheeks turn red. “Mhm,” she says again.
For a second I wonder if I should look up and apologize. Or look up and smile. Or explain I’m reading a book and not youtube-ing “babies see shadow first time” (which I highly recommend watching). But I decide against my need to please and remember I didn’t want to talk to the pervy man in the first place.
He continues his speech about “kids these days” until the train slows and he gets off.