Sunday, March 20, 2005

trading places

It has been too long since I posted here, but I have been that busy. I guess since I spend a quarter of my life on the train from which this literary masterpeice derives its name, I tend to either a) take it for granted or b) block it out. But it's time to start satiating the thirst of my readers, so I'll ease back into it.

The big adventure this week, on the train at least, had to be the Chinese lady who sat with me on Friday night. She reluctantly dropped herself into aisle seat next to me and began to nod off. It was not long before the air immediately surrounding us began to smell like fermenting organic material. I began to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

It was at this point, having been brought to memory by that very smell of another evening on the train, that I began to be a little less judgmental of her. My thoughts turned instead to that January evening when I attended a certain party at Cipriani 42nd Street. Oh, did I fail to post about that here? Perhaps it was because I resembled Dan Akroyd in Trading Places, during the "drunk wanderings" scene, minus the gun and the Santa Claus suit, of course. But more on this some other time.

At intervals she would bounce off my shoulder, oblivious to that fact. Then she would lean forward and put her head on the seat in front, almost as though nausea were beginning to evidence itself. I began to formulate plans of escape from my window seat.

It was a very long ride; the first one I can remember that I just wished would be over. My knee hurt and would not be made comfortable. It had been a long, trying week. And I was trapped in that seat having to keep my eye trained on that woman for signs of untoward behavior.

We cluh-clunked into the terminal (on the very bumpy set of tracks). I studied my seat-mate for signs of consciousness, but waited until the conductor announced our arrival before attempting, by administering a series of gentle taps (almost pokes) to her left shoulder, to awaken her in order that I might be able to get my gear and go home.

But she was having none of it, and I was forced to resort to a climb over the back of the seat (after waiting for its occupants to "debark") . I hooked my ankle in the strap of the bag I had placed back there before climbing over, and managed to give my knee just enough of a twist to make me wince. By the time I was standing in the aisle, she was awake and bouncing off the seats on her way out.

She actually got into the terminal some time before I did. I saw her leaving the ladies room...


Post a Comment

<< Home