I like to have younger writers take their shots here. Today’s offering comes from Stephanie Officer, whose blog, msofficer.com, is original and sharp. I didn’t know the subject until Stephanie sent this in, so if it seems sorta cocky—well, it wasn’t my idea. Plus, since my first book came out seven years ago I’ve spotted all of (drumroll, please) a single person reading something I wrote …
It seems that my perplexing combination of race & sex, i.e.: not male, not white, not Rosie O’Donnell, provokes MTA riders to initiate conversation with me—when toting a Pearlman book on my travels.
Two older white men approached for that very reason.
Let the record show these two encounters took place about a month apart.
The first guy, toothless but veneered, had already been perched next to me aboard the Brooklyn bound 5 train. It was one of those I-don’t-know-if-it’s-summer-or-sinter-maybe-fallish-type-days-but-I’ve-gotta-wear-a-coat-to-be-safe, when “You like baseball”entered my left ear. I replied yes to the man born circa Big Band Swing.
The 5 screeches to a halt just before Bowling Green and the conductor announces that this train won’t continue into Brooklyn as previously promised.
[Insert 4-letter expletive here]
Thirty seconds later each passenger is standing on the scorching platform of the last stop in Manhattan. Guess who remains next to me?
Now faced with the dilemma of inducing a heat stroke or revealing the tank top underneath my jacket, the man stands ogling, mouth agape. More veneers peek from his bottom gums. Apparently the tank top was the invitation he’d been waiting for.
“Barry Bonds, eh? You a Giants Fan? I guess you were really happy this series”
“I’m not really a—”
“But you know, I’m more of a Mets guy myself. Do you like the Mets? Can’t stand the guy. You like baseball though? You’re reading it.”
“Yes. I like it. And this is a really good auth—”
“Oh, OK then. That’s just weird I haven’t seen anyone like you who likes baseball and is reading about it.”
He leers. I blink.
“Stay cool. And pretty.” Thank you, God. The monologue is over & he disappears down the platform.
A new 5 train pulls in about 2 minutes after he walks off.
[Insert 4 letter expletive for the MTA here.]
The second encounter was not as To Catch A Predator-y.
This time my companion was The Bad Guys Won. Back on the 5, back to Brooklyn. A larger man with Jonah Hill curls and chin had been reckless eyeballing, but I thought nothing of it. Turn another page, snicker a little more.
The belly approaches.
“You know his books are soooo good. I read that one. I’m a Met fan. Do you like the Mets?”
“Then I’m surprised you’re reading this. I’ve read his other one about the Cowboys. Did you read it?”
“Does he have any others?”
“There’s one about Barry Bonds.” Obviously, this was the most I was going to get to say here.
“Really? Whoa I didn’t even know that. And I’m surprised that you’ve read those. That’s cool though. Thanks.”
The doors slide open at President St. He’s gone—surprisingly enough—into thin air.
Let the record show these two encounters occurred about a month apart.
From this, we can deduce the following:
A. If you see something, say something.
B. Reading is not, indeed, fundamental.
C. Or at the very least, there is always some middle-aged super creep lurking on the 5, eager to start a half ignorant monologue. They profess their man-crush on Jeff, then run away.
Thank You Jeff, for helping me meet my husband. Duly noted.
Did I mention I loath the MTA?