Sunday, October 30, 2005

Yesterday I got off the train in Grand Central, went downstairs, and got swept up in a sea of Japanese school girls. Amused, I stood still as they swarmed around me in matching blue jumpers and knee socks, chattering and giggling in high-pitched Japanese. At 5'4, I towered above them.

On the subway, I played one of the people-watching games I made up. This one was "Who in my immediate vision is most likely to blow up the subway?" I decided it was the creepy guy sitting diagonally across from me. He was shorter than I, and twice as wide. He was about 60, and looked grimy; his mutton chops were a dingy grey and his sweatshirt was stained and torn. At his feet was a tote bag stuffed with newspaper and printed with "UMASS LOWELL", which happens to be where Rob went to school. The mutton chops, though, I decided, made him the creepiest. The train doors slid closed. "There's no need," the guy shouted, and I jumped. "to be worried about a bomb on the subway!"

"What?" I thought. "I was right! He's going to blow up this goddamn subway. Fuck." He continued his tirade to the rest of the car. "There has never been an attack on an American Subway..."

"...until now!" my mind concluded, and I let myself be a little scared. I knew, logically, this guy was just one of the thousands of loud, obnoxious people in Manhattan who will make noise where ever anyone will listen (or can't help but listen), but sometimes, I take a thrill where I can get it.

The subway pulled onto my stop as he continued to rave on to a subway car full of bored New Yorkers and nervous tourists. Two of them, a couple, rushed off with me and sat down to wait for the next train. I smiled at them.

"Creeped out?" I asked.

"Totally." said the guy in an accent that confirmed my suspicion that they were from California (they were easily ruled out in the first round of "Who is most likely to blow up the subway" on account of their California-wholesome looks. It's a prejudiced game, ok?)

"You'll be alright." I told them, and waved on my exit.

My purpose for being in the City was to meet Rob. He had been taking a three day voice-over course in a studio downtown, and we were going to have dinner afterward. I got there just as everyone was finishing recording their demos. Rob was last, so I got to watch him record an advertisement for something that unclogs drains. He sounds like no plumber I've ever met.

Walking through the village, I felt in the minority at points because I was holding hands with someone who was the opposite sex.

"Are we in the gay district or something?" Rob asked as two pretty men walked by.
"You didn't notice?"

I had ravioli stuffed with pumpkin, and red wine that went straight to my head. We ate outside because the night was perfectly not-cold and not hot and not muggy, and people brushed by us on their phones or holding hands or carrying laundry from the Laundromat down the street.

On the train ride back we had a Tetris competition using our cell phones, and Rob easily beat me.