Train Hero

The train today was particularly crazy.  As soon as I walked onto the car, I smelled cat pee and BO.  Lovely.  There were no empty rows, but I had my pick of rows with available space.  I chose a nice-enough looking youngish (maybe 30?) man to sit next to.  Mainly because he looked like the cleanest option and the least likely to be the one that smelled like cat pee or BO as he was nicely dressed with no sweat stains (some of the other options had those).

I immediately opened my book and began reading without really making eye contact with my new neighbor, but I could tell he was staring at me.  It was pretty obvious.  He alternated between full-on staring at my face and trying to read my book.  I was DETERMINED not to make eye contact because I could tell he was going to start talking if I did.

10 minutes into the ride and I was working hard at not looking up while this man stared right at me.  I was doing a pretty decent job, but the kid in the seat in front of us was listening to his iPod with no headphones….that’s the modern equivalent of holding a boombox on your shoulder…and it is just as obnoxious as that was.  Anyway….I was struggling to concentrate on anything….dude with loud music in front of me, staring dude next to me.  Then, out of nowhere, staring dude leans forward, clears his throat and says to the kid “Excuse me, do you mind turning that down a little.  There are people back here trying to read and it’s a little loud.”  Then he looked at me….I had to look up at that point, so I darted a glance at him and said a quiet “thank you” with a little laugh and went back to my book.  The kid actually quieted down instead of making a scene….I was a little impressed, but still not actually willing to make eye contact.

A few stops later and staring dude told me it was his stop, so I moved out of his way.  As he passed me, he said “Is that the Cleopatra book?” (Which he should have known based on the fact that he had been alternately staring at it for 40 minutes…) I nodded and smiled.  He said “You know the museum in Cincinnati has a great Cleopatra exhibit.  That’s a great book.  Really well written.”  And then he walked away.

Damn.  Now I feel bad.  I should have made eye contact…maybe all he wanted to talk about was my book.  Or maybe he wanted to ask me out, but that might have been okay too.  He was thoughtful, acted like my hero, and then made a comment related to something intellectual.

Sorry Train Hero….I guess you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover….