Hello, let’s jump right in. Today I share with you the pluses and minuses of public transportation. Please don’t stop before you begin, I promise it’ll be worth your while…
MINUS – like, minus to infinity: I had a work thing in the DC/Maryland area this week, and I like trains so I decided to take the Acela instead of flying. The Acela is my new favorite method of transport: it is a fast train that stops in only a few cities, and it has comfy seats and lots of leg room and there’s none of the security hoopla of airports. I went down Monday night and returned Wednesday morning on the 7AM train. My 5AM wake up call was entirely unwelcome: I already felt like I’d lived a week of two Mondays, two Tuesdays, and I was waking up to my second Wednesday – I was exhausted. The train ride from DC to NYC is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and I slept HARD, like hardcore R.E.M. sleep from Baltimore to Philadelphia, which is about 1.5 hours. I woke up as we got close to Philly very disoriented and confused…and then…THIS:
“Um, excuse me?” The guy next to me cleared his throat.
I turned to him and he continued, “So, I have something to show you, and before you think I’m really creepy – I swear I’m not – it’s just…well, here,” as he pulls out his phone, “I took a picture of you sleeping.”
“You – wait … WHAT?!?!?” It took me about 3 seconds to process this (if you count out 3 seconds Mississippi-ly that’s a long time to process a thought), and once it hit me I was not happy.
“Yeah – stop, don’t look at me like that – you sleep really…I guess I’ve never seen anyone sleep like that before. You were, just, getting after it. I wanted to tell my friends about it but I didn’t think they’d believe me, so I took a picture…then I felt bad about sending it, so I decided I’d show you before I sent it to anyone and let you decide if I could share it.”
He handed me his phone. Suffice it to say…it wasn’t good. My head was lolled back on my shoulders, mouth gaping open, eyes pretty much wide open and staring right at him (I sleep with my eyes open – have we talked about that?) and hair a veritable rat’s nest around my dome. “Plus,” he said, ever so helpfully, “your head kept doing that thing where it falls forward and then snaps back…aw man, I should have taken a video!”
Sweet. “Yeah, you’re gonna have to delete that,” I told him, “delete that right now.” My level of kiddingness was neg.
“OK…I get that. Here, done, DELETE.” He was sad to see it go, but he probably already sent it to his buddies anyway and the part about letting me decide was a bunch o baloney – I wasn’t born yesterday.
Then he added, “But I guess I also took it because I thought you should know how you sleep…”
I assured him that he was definitely not the first person to take a picture of me sleeping, but was absolutely the first stranger who had, and he goes, “Ha, that you know of….”
At this point all I could do was laugh. He didn’t seem like a weird creep (and I don’t give people much benefit of the doubt when I’m assessing weird creepiness), he was definitely somewhat PLU, around my age, not heinous…hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself… Then we pulled up to Philly and he got off. The end.
(Author’s note: I went back and forth about whether or not I was going to include a pic of me sleeping – obviously not the one he took, but I wasn’t lying when I said that others had snapped pics of me in medias slumber. I decided that, given all the weird crap going on right now we could all use some cheering up..so…here. Bus – me – under it.)
Here’s my takeaway: are there any classes that teach people how to sleep normal? I bet there are – there’s a class for just about everything in NYC. I do usually sleep with an eye mask, which helps with the eyes-open issue…but, as we all now know, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
PLUS!: AM New York, a free newspaper up here, distributes their paper via paper people who stand at subway entrances, passing them out as people walk by. You’ll find a wide array of paper people: some are surly and just hold them out, silently; some are shouting about deals/coupons in that day’s edition; and others are less focused on giving away papers, but engaging with passer-bys. Normally, no gracias – leave me alone – but there is a woman who stands on the landing at the Bryant Park/42nd Street station at the corner of 42nd and 5th, where I emerge from subway to city every morning, and she is maybe my favorite human in NY.
“Alright, girl – it’s another beautiful day out there! Let me see you smile, oh yeah, there it is! Look at that smile! You go, girl, you’re gonna be great today, just keep smilin’…”
Each morning as I climb up the stairs, regardless of my disposition or mood, I cannot help but break into a huge, goofy smile, and I feel so silly about it I start laughing to myself. So, basically, because of this woman, I start each day laughing outloud. I believe that my overall quality of life has been improved since I began seeing her every day.
Cheesiness factor: high. I care not, you’d all be so lucky to have this gem of a person in your life.
On a serious note, I’d like to thank you all for your concerned texts/calls/emails/gchats about my sister, Charlotte, who ran the Boston Marathon on Monday. She was very close to the explosions, but she had her phone with her (many hadn’t had a chance to retrieve between finishing/running race and the blasts) so she was able to let us know right away that she was fine and safe and kept us posted as to her location, etc. It’s such a horrible tragedy on so many levels, but I really do appreciate the social media focus on the inherent good in people that shows itself in situations such as this. I also really appreciate these five golden retrievers – “comfort dogs” - who are part of the K-9 Lutheran Parish in Boston and trained specifically to provide emotional support.
BBT sends thoughts and prayers to all those impacted by Boston, the Texas explosion, or any of the other unpleasantness going on right now. XOXO….and TGIT