Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Imperfect strangers

A woman got on the train this morning and began talking to my seatmate, a friendly young man in his twenties. Their conversation went something like this:

Woman: "Don't you recognize me?"
Man: "You do look familiar."
W: "You know who I am don't you?"
M: "I can't quite place you."
W: "Really?"
M: "It's been a while hasn't it?"
W: "Oh come on!"
M: "Didn't you used to work at Target?"
W: "TARGET?!!!"
M: "You didn't work at Target?"
W: "No dammit, that was the woman who stole my identity."
M: "Excuse me?"
W: "This lady from Mexico, she broke into my home late one night, beat me up so bad I almost died. She took all my ids and I've been trying to get my identity back ever since."
M: "My gosh that's terrible."
W: "That's only the beginning, she broke into other homes and the police came after me. They surrounded me and you know what I did? I held up a bible."
M: "A bible?"
W: "They thought I was going to pull a gun but I pulled a bible on them instead."
M: "Hmmm."
W: "The thing that gets me is that I was born in the USA and they treat me like a criminal and these foreigners get treated like kings. What's your name?"
M: "Adam."
W: "Adam do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?"
M: "um... I don't know."
W: "Well let me tell you about him..."

At that point the conversation became a monologue, mixing religion with tales of persecution.

The young man looked more and more uncomfortable. I pretended to be asleep.

Soon the monologue became a rant that everyone in the car could hear. Then in a sardonic tone, the woman said to the man: "Am I making you feel uncomfortable Adam? That is your name isn't it Adam?"

The man said: "No, that's not my name."

I felt bad for him and wanted to say something to lighten his burden, something like: "Boy you sure found yourself a live one."

But I kept my mouth shut and continued to pretend I was asleep. The young man by this time appeared defeated. He kept eyeing the door and when the train approached his stop, he bolted. For the first time in twenty minutes, the woman didn't say anything.

Then an elderly man took Adam's seat. The lady said to him:

"Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Roger Ebert?"

I didn't wait for his response, my stop was next and I bolted for the door.

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