the usual suspects - the railroad edition

I've been commuting long enough to see some of the same people each day as I tend to sit in the same seat on the train in the morning. I thought I'd describe the notables.

1. Woman With A Sandwich - she sits directly behind me each day and the only reason I noticed her was that she crinkles the aluminum foil as she unwraps a peanut butter sandwich (on whole wheat) every single morning. At 7:26. I have gotten used to the scent of peanut butter - but it took a while.

2. The Lady With Very Thin Hair - I think about this issue, from time to time. What would I do if my hair started to thin? Would I get some kind of cosmetic or medical help? Would I buy that spray paint for the scalp? Would I wear hats? This lady has buzzed her hair short and she doesn't look bad but she doesn't look great. I don't think that she is unwell (chemo or somesuch) as I've had a few friends lose their hair during illness and that's not what this looks like. She carries a tote bag from a company I once worked for and I spoke to her one day to see if she worked there. I have since noticed that she is the most gracious and polite woman on that train and had tears in my eyes the morning she helped an old man, whose arm was in a sling, don his coat.

3. The Hair Splitter - wears far too much foundation...orangey foundation, has a diamond piercing in her nose and has hair that she blows straight most mornings (I'm assuming) as I can see that she has very curly hair on other mornings. Is a gum snapper and likes to spend the train ride examining the ends of her hair in search of split ends which she then isolates and splits off into two pieces. You might not think this is difficult to witness but, trust me, depending on my stress level, IT IS.

4. Soduku Man - this guy looks an awful lot like Raymond Burr. Wears his trousers way up high with his shirt tucked in tightly. Has a plastic pocket protector. Settles in very quickly and gets right to solving his puzzle. I've tried to catch his eye on several occasions, I'd like to say good morning, but he's far too absorbed.

5. Yacht club/tennis playing/ investment discussers - I think there are three guys involved in this conversation. They sit in the set of seats that face each other and manage, over 30 minutes to loudly conversate upon the yacht/tennis/private clubs they belong to, who they play tennis with and what's wrong with the market. There is some one-upmanship that is difficult to overhear and sometimes I wish they would just read THEIR NEWSPAPERS.

6. The Japanese Couple - two women who arrive separately, have stunningly beautiful coats and accessories, chat quietly for half an hour and often leave the station arm in arm. Oh, to be a soft spoken, stylish Japanese lady....

I've learned the conductors that what you call the guy/gal who checks your ticket? I love their uniforms, and the fact that they each have a ticket puncher that leaves a different shape on your ticket - a little shoe! an X! a snowman shape!


Jen on the Edge said…
I love it when you people watch and then share your observations with us.
You are the BEST people watcher because you remember so many details.
jordiw said…
I, too, want to be a stylish Japanese lady. I even have a "coat" created back when I had extra $$, made from a quilted kimono that I had pockets added to and interior fasteners, intending to use one of my pins as the exterior closer. Not exactly practical, but it fed my fantasy that I was turning into a SJL for a while.
LemonySarah said…
This reminds me so much of the long ago days when I commuted from Chicago's North Shore to Chicago on the big train. Except that you observe and communicate your experiences much better.
Amy A. said…
I wonder how long it will be before you are all chatting each other up because you are so used to each other.

I really like the thinning hair lady. Kindness is such a good thing.
Mrs. G. said…
I NEVER get tired of people watching.
Ditto to what everyone else said.
The punchers delight me--a coffee shop here does that and I love that each time I present my card I get a new hole design.
Anonymous said…
To group number 5: Maybe you'd like to meet the loudmouth braggart doctors who ride my bus in the mornings. You can all try to out-yuppify one another.

Anonymous said…
Hair splitter sounds a little obsessive compulsive. She should sit for a while with the lady with very thin hair. I think she could learn some important lessons from her.
Suse said…
My boss has thinning hair and I worry for her.

Me? I do that hair splitting thing. It's an atrocious habit and now every time I do it I'll think of you.
tut-tut said…
Curl up and get rested, bb. I worry about you.

Word veri is pincon: almost pinecone; hmmm
Miz S said…
Evangeline sometimes splits her hair ends and it drives me insane. INSANE, I TELLS YA!

Let's assume that one of your fellow commuters is also a people watcher. How would she/he describe you?
I used to spend HOURS trawling through my hair with scissors cutting off split ends when I was meant to be studying. Hours. To BITE them off and SPIT them out IN PUBLIC is just.plain.wrong.

I am currently addicted to Sodoku (having only recently 'got' how to do them) but have never owned a plastic pocket protector.

I am gob smacked you guys actually have train conductors who punch your tickets! Just like on The Polar Express! How quaint!
Emily said…
I lost a good deal of hair due to a reaction to a medicine. Didn't know what it was at the time. I consider myself very confident, but I tell you, losing my hair felt like a punch to the stomach. I cut mine short, but it still looked bad, and what was worse, having my hair so short made me look chubby. I have infinitely more sympathy for men and women who lose their hair. It was something I'd never considered before.
eurolush said…
Now. If only we could hear each of them describe you. The circle would be complete.
eurolush said…
Just noticed Miz S had the same thought...Tag team!
Anonymous said…
The thin hair lady deserves a hug. It is rather unique to see someone help someone else in Tuvalu, isn't it. That's one of the first things I noticed there as a kid, everyone looks so "alone" even in the middle of millions of people.
Anonymous said…
You are the best people-watcher EVER. As soon as I finish with my "must read" blogs (yes, you are definitely in that group), I am going to write a post about sitting at the airport for 6 hours on Saturday waiting for #1 son's plane. There was a LOT of people watching; I shall try to emulate your descriptive talents.
barbra said…
Oh, dear. I play with my split ends. Drives The Hubby bonkers. I've been trying to curb this bad habit lately, as well as trying to prevent the split ends in the first place. But I have some right now!

If I weren't playing with my split ends on a train, I'd probably have my nose buried in a sudoku.

I love the shaped hole-punchers!

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