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train people: the woman in the bubble - A Shout Out to My Pepys [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
The American Caliban

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train people: the woman in the bubble [Jan. 15th, 2009|12:47 am]
The American Caliban
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Hi everyone. I'm not just a link-posting bot, but I have been writing less lately. You're welcome.

Today on the train I saw the following woman:

She was in her late forties, of indeterminate origin. Clearly a respectable office-worker type. She was one of those people immediately recognizable as eccentric. As soon as one sees such a person the only question is: what's the situation? Because there is a situation.

She thumped into one of the larger seats with a table. Right away she went into what was clearly a settled routine. Out came the purse, and from the purse most of the contents spilled onto the table. There was sorting for a few minutes.

Next, she wound her hair onto four curlers. These remained for the rest of the journey.

A series of plastic containers was carefully lined up. Yogurt, dry cereal, and some slices of fruit were deposited from three of them into a fourth, and slowly consumed with a tiny plastic spoon.

These containers were replaced in the purse, and two more containers were opened. I think they contained lunch materials. Some manipulation of the lunch containers ensued and they too were placed back in the purse.

Satisfied that she was on her way, she kicked off her shoes and took out several books as well as two pairs of glasses and a small pile of tools or jewelry that I couldn't quite make out.

The books were not read. However, she did do some minor repair on her nail polish, and I think some other makeup juju that involved a mirror and a lot of gyrations in the seat.

At this point there were twenty or so objects on the table, most of which she picked up or put down several times. At no time did she look out the window or at any other passengers.

From time to time this woman emitted a clearly audible hissing sound reminiscent of an air brake on a truck. I could not see any source for this sound or any behavior that indicated she was aware of it.

In short: LONG LIVE THE IMMEASURABLE DIVERSITY OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE and damn I am sure glad I don't share an office with her.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: caladri
2009-01-15 09:03 am (UTC)
I'm totally that woman, at least in the right circumstances.
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[User Picture]From: fattmike
2009-01-15 01:35 pm (UTC)
OK, how long was this train trip? I'm thinking of my 50 minute commute of old into NYC, and never mind that the LIRR were cattle cars without TABLES (????), that made me tired just reading it :x

The video of that would make an awesome documentary. I'm not sure what it would be documenting, but I'm sure would be something :)

Oh, and apologies to calabri -- I'm sure you're not eccentric at all, just focused and efficient :D
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[User Picture]From: monochromatism
2009-01-15 05:12 pm (UTC)
haha. i open and check the contents of my purse about 10 times between when i get on and when i get off.
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[User Picture]From: kasheri
2009-01-16 07:40 pm (UTC)

Odd Ducks

I worked with a woman very much like this for a few years. She was so odd. Every day she had to go buy a bagel at the exact same time. No matter how inconsequential her issue might be, she could not leave it alone or stop bugging you to do whatever she wanted you to do until she'd gotten that issue off her to-do list. (This included bugging her boss, who tolerated her because her obsessiveness meant that she was awesome at handling fiscal closing, plus she knew short hand.) She would never, ever drink anything outside the home unless it was served in an unopened bottle. She refused to own a VCR because she was certain that it would suck the life essence from her TV. When her kids came to visit with her grandchildren, she would only allow them to see her under very strict restraints on time and place. She was just one strange, strange lady and we were all rather relieved when she retired.
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[User Picture]From: leolo
2009-01-16 08:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Odd Ducks

"under very strict restraints on time and place."

The question becomes how did she raise her own kids
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[User Picture]From: leolo
2009-01-16 09:18 pm (UTC)

Thank you

OK, now I want to listen to some Paul Simon.
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