I love subways. Put two native New Yorkers in an enclosed space, virtually take away their cell phones, and interesting shit happens. That’s why i love the subway. Something about looking out at the Lower Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn bridge through grimy, scratched-up windows of a rickety subway car on a hot summers day has tempers and perhaps hormones flying.
Trust me on that last one.
A few weeks ago, while coming back from work, which is no longer in DUMBO, I walk onto a train car and sit down next to…a cute girl. No I wasn’t creeping; it was the only empty seat. Or one of the last 50 empty seats.
Some dude walks up to me, leans over and softly whispers in my ear “Can you help me out, perhaps spare 50 cents?” Now THAT’S creepy. I didn’t give him the money.
Needless to say, she overheard and thus began our conversation about NY, homeless people and jobs. Subject of nationality came up, I asked her if she was black, and she said no, she’s white, and Jewish. I should’ve known. Anyway we’re talking about whatever two people talk about on a subway, which is usually meaningless banter, except by now she knows my background; the average white guy doesn’t know names of girls seminaries in Israel unless he’s been there, done that.
Been there. Done that. Get it?
Nah I kid, the worst (best?) that I did in Israel was get drunk with friends. And without. And not much more. Long story, wrong forum.
Back to this girl. I’m talking to her, and I’m staring at her. Now I can’t figure out why, I mean I know she’s cute, but I’m looking at her because something about her is familiar. [insert creep horror movie soundtrack here]
She gets a text from Jonathan. Ya I saw her screen. How else would I know? It was at that moment that I looked at her, and almost in what seemed to me slow motion, I said you’re dating Jonathan So-and-so! [Inner wheels in my brain screech to a halt. That’s my dudes girl here. Whoa. Backtrack, reboot. Whoops?]
“Your name is Leona, or Leora…Kaplan”
“Yes, my names Leora Kaplan!”
“Ya, your boyfriend, who’s a friend of mine, (whom I only met twice in my life…) has your face as his profile picture.”
Now I’m really not the Facebook stalker type. I don’t recognize people before I meet them. That’s some Inception shit right there.
(Although I just yesterday recognized someone I’d seen briefly, by putting her first name and the person who mentioned her first name together with memories of a certain Racheli who’d been dating an English friend of mine two years ago…maybe I have a knack for names. I should be a private investigator.)
But hey, it’s NYC. It’s the subway.
We spent the next 10 stops marveling over how in a city of 9 million people, I bump into the one person that I don’t know, and recognize.
Oh, and both of you, “Leora and Jonathan”, next time you come to my neighborhood I’ll get a few friends together and we’ll all reminisce about the old times. Whatever old times you want.
“Stand clear of the closing doors please. The next stop is 34th Street.”
Encounters 3, 4 and 5 will be combined into one post. Stay tuned later this week.