on the way home from class today, i fell down. but that’s coming in part two: sitting on a bag of frozen green beans, (or: the coefficient of friction).
— part one: sitting on the metro —
interacting with strangers can take a twist if you think of it as an experiment…
over-the-shoulder and across-the-aisle readers abound on the metro. a woman holds a newspaper open, her neighbor skims the column closest by. a student pulls his test review out, even the person sitting across from him glances over the page, reading upside down to score himself on symbolic logic or to muse at the childish grammar exercises assigned to an adult foreigner.
today, as i scribbled the notes to come in part two: sitting on a bag of frozen green beans, (or: the coefficient of friction), i had the sensation that the old lady sitting caddy-corner across from me, her expression flat, even as we first made eye contact, was following the scrawl of my hand, if not the language itself. when i was done making my notes, half an empty page remained under my pen-tucked fist. i began to do something silly. i began to draw, very slowly & very exactingly, a smiley face like this one here —> : ) i went over and over the lines. it was big, bold, visible. i moved my hand a little. SOYEZ, i began to write, as loudly, as dark, going over and over the curves of this imperative: BE. i continued then with a phrase i wasn’t sure i’d spell correctly. it was a little less big, a little less bold, but i hoped the hook was already in & that her imagination would discern what my french skills would muddle… i completed the phrase: SOYEZ plein de joi [which was badly done as plein should have been PLEINE and joi, JOIE].
be full of joy. that is what i wrote. i wrote it like a 2nd grader. but i wrote it anyway.
i didn’t turn the page in her direction. i just looked up & she was looking at me.
i put the notebook and the pen away. the old lady stood to exit at the next station. when the train stopped, she was smiling. she was making eye contact with me. she wished me a good afternoon, i her a good day.
score… hardcore score.