Thursday, December 28, 2006

the book and the cover

he tossed his moth-eaten black cloak, and then himself, onto the seat across the aisle
from me, adjusted his enormous earphones, and turned up the heavy-metal-volume as high as it could go.
i sighed audibly - someone else's bass is my bane - and, gathering up my things, i
headed for the coupé door.
"ma'am?" he ventured. "may i ask why you're leaving?"
"you may", i answered, less curtly than i intended, partly bacause he had used the
polite form of "you". "it's sunday morning. i'd like a little quiet."
"then why didn't you just ask me to turn it down?" he asked.
i explained, wearily, that requests of that nature generally elicit aggressive responses, which are no fun on a sunday morning, either.
"oh!" he cried. "but i'm not an aggressive person at ALL!"
i sat back down.
he lowered the volume.
a few awkward minutes passed.
"i actually ha-have quite eclectic tastes in music", he volunteered.
a few more minutes passed.
"so do i." i smiled.
by the time the conductors came controlling tickets, he had relocated to my side of the carriage, and was confiding his talents, his passions, and his plans for the day, and he stammered enthusiastically, to everyone within earshot, "oh, we are ha-having such an enthra-thralling conversation!"
they laughed, and so did i, but sheepishly:
i had jumped to conclusions, and allowed first impressions to mislead me.
i should have known better.


  1. one of my favorite stories! Finally you post this :)

  2. Reminds me of a situation some year ago. My eldest kid must have been about eleven or twelve and nuts about his game boy. We sat on a train in first class. He with his game boy, I with my MP3-player. An elderly lady came and asked me to turn down the sound. I smiled and turned it down very low. 10 minutes later she stood up in a certain way, gave me a foul look, and went to another compartment. I was irritated, impossible that she could have been bothered by the sound of my player, it was down real low. Then I realized, of course, that it must have been the sound of my kid's game boy that irritated her in the first place. Silly me.

  3. ...and so we see that reality can indeed be much nicer than you'd think. Thanks for that story and for the intriguing photograph.

  4. Isn't it amazing how people can surprise you? I make so many assumptions, based on past experiences, then find that I've not given someone a fair chance. It can be so refreshing when you discover you were wrong about someone.

  5. Very nice. A glimpse of sunshine moment on the usually overcast daily life of us, hearphone'd creatures :)