December 1st, 2005
So I was taking BART from rainy Berkeley to just-as-rainy San Francisco this morning, and I was hunched over Po Bronson's marvelous new book, Why Do I Love These People?: Honest and Amazing Stories of Real Families. (I'll be interviewing the author at tomorrow's taping.) As I read through these truly amazing accounts of people trying (despite everything) to connect with each other, I kind of blocked out a conversation that was happening right next to me: a man and woman animatedly discussing ... something. As I said, I was engrossed in the book. But I did get the sense that these were not long-time acquaintances -- coworkers or lovers -- but rather were people who had perhaps just met on this train, or maybe had met briefly once before: they were friendly with each other, but not intimate.
So we go under the Bay, and then the woman gets out at Embarcadero. The doors close, and as the train starts to pull out from the station, another woman, across the aisle, calls out, "Her umbrella!" I look up from my book, and see a jolly-looking, red-and-pink umbrella leaning against the side of my seat. Then, a bit farther away, I see the man -- who moments ago had been in conversation with the departed woman -- staring at the umbrella. At first he doesn't move -- he just keeps staring, but as he does so he begins to smile and blush. It's as if he's building up the courage to reach out and take the umbrella. Finally, tentatively, he picks it up.
The man realizes that we are all staring at him. Regarding the umbrella in his hand, he says, to no one in particular (and in a light European accent): "This could give me a reason to see her again." Then, smiling, he disembarks at the Montgomery station. ...
BART intimates life?
Entry Filed under: let's digress