Friday, May 16, 2008

Portrait #3: Metro personalities

Today I metroed into the city to apply for a visa, have lunch with a friend, and remind myself of my dislike for stale academic libraries. If I metroed into my job everyday, I would see so many memorable characters every day! The metro is fascinating as we all try to act cool and ignore one another in a confined space... or, in my case, I try to pretend that I'm not watching everyone else. Anyway, some highlights from today:

- This gorgeous little two-year old Asian girl wearing a pristine white dress and white tights, sitting with a full-sized laptop case slung over her neck. The laptop case was about the same size as she was. She was sitting next to a Caucasian woman when I first got on the car, and I wondered if this was an adopted Chinese girl, but at the next stop, the woman got up and said goodbye to an Asian man who then slid in to sit next to the girl. I guess the woman was friends with the girl's father? Anyway, all of us in that metro car were trying hard to not stare at this little girl who was cute as a button, acting all grown-up with her father's computer case, looking out the window, asking her dad questions, etc.

- A young couple got on the train halfway through my trip into town. They got on together and stood next to each other, but during the ride she stared at the ground, away from him. For a few moments I thought maybe he was harassing her, as she seemed to be trying very hard to ignore the fact that a young man was standing right behind her with his face almost in her neck. They didn't say a word to each other, but eventually she did turn around and smile at him. Then, as soon as a seat opened up, she promptly left him standing and crossed the car to take the seat. Though they didn't seem upset in any way, they didn't say a word to each other as far as I could tell for the duration of their ride.

- As I got off the metro this evening and started heading to my car, I walked quickly out of the station and up the stairs into a residential neighbourhood. I heard steps behind me, but thought nothing of it, as I was one of a couple hundred people who had gotten off that particular train. A block or so down, the steps had almost caught up to me. But I heard the footsteps getting off the sidewalk (pavement for you Brits) and walking in the street. I looked over and saw a young man who was dressed relatively professionally but toting a very old-looking backpack (rucksack). Then as soon as he had passed me, he got right back onto the sidewalk (pavement) in front of me. His thoughtfulness in passing me by a distance was not lost on me, and I watched as he walked on ahead. I further observed that, at a point where crossing the street would have saved him several metres walking distance, he stuck to his sidewalk, which meant he took the long way around.

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