Thursday, October 14, 2010


Setting: Morning commute
Time: 6:58am
Place: Platform of the Metro North Hudson Line heading to Grand Central

"Hello!, How is everything?" I spot a fellow commuter and father to one of my son's friends from school. "Hey, how are you, its been a long time..." The father acknowledges back. We board the train and find a spot in the car where the two cushioned benches face each other. He sits in the middle of a bench with three seats. I sit on the opposite bench, taking the aisle seat. We are diagonal from each other, the perfect train distance to converse.

"So how is your son adjusting to fifth grade?" I start the conversation. "Oh, just fine, and your son...?" he echos back proudly. "Starting to get into the swing of things I guess." I respond.  "How is your son enjoying football?" Is the next question, this time directed at me. "Oh, he loves it, he is learning a lot and enjoying his teammates." I genuinely reciprocate.  I volley in, "And how does your son like it?" "Yes, he is enjoying it as well, he is getting used to the hitting..." He returns. We comment about the boy's schedules and other small talk items.

A pause in the conversation as we both check our phones like we are expecting a call from the White House.

"Is your son ready for the school trip next week, it sounds like they are going to have a blast" I serve. "Oh that trip sounds fantastic, he cannot wait until next week." He answers.

The conversation seems to come to a close as we both stare at our phones again, delicately typing and scrolling through text. I look over and just a few rows back are three women engaged in a non stop conversation. Their exchange covers their kids, schoolwork, their husbands, what they had for dinner last night, doctors appointments, a article of clothing they purchased, the book one just finished, and how that happens to be the one the other wants to read, the weather, and even their pets.

The train is slow through the tunnel as the conductor states over the intercom, "Arriving at Grand Central" I gather my things and we both stand up at the same time, awaiting for the train to stop and herd out onto the platform. "So, those Mets had one terrible season." He serves. "Oh please, the worst I have seen in a long time!" I exclaim back. Then we both start ranting about the team, the players, the management, their record, and the changes needed for next year. "Excuse me.." I hear between our banter. The three women are standing behind us as we are blocking the doorway. We move out of the way and make our way up the stairs, all the time partaking in the non-stop discussion.
We reach the top of the stairs are a standing in a valley and the foot of two enormous concrete ramps extending in opposite directions inside the cavernous structure of Grand Central Terminal. "Well have a good day and I will will see you soon." I say as I head up the westbound ramp towards the concourse level. "Ok, See you." He replies as he heads up the east ramp.

7:35 am, I push through the doors and onto the busy sidewalk, on my way to the office.


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