Thursday, April 19, 2012

Unofficial study

For as long as I can remember I have struck up conversations with strangers. More often than not, I get a disinterested response and I regret opening my mouth. And yet I continue to do it. I can't help it. I see something unusual happen on the street that a passer-by witnesses as well and I am compelled to remark on our joint experience.

Maybe it's my southern upbringing that leads me to instead of being wary of strangers to look to them as potential conversation partners. I should conduct a study of whether chats with strangers are more likely to be fruitful in Virginia than in NYC.

A study I have conducted in great detail is of chivalry. There is not much chivalry to be found in the NYC area.

Case in point: I have devised a system for getting the best standing spot on my commuter train. It's only a 22-minute ride and I sit all day long so I don't mind standing at all; in fact I enjoy it. But I prefer to lean against the door instead of hold on to a pole so that both my hands are free to hold my book.

I could rush onto the train when it arrives in the station and hope to get a spot against the door on the opposite side of the car. But instead I hold back and get on last so that I can lean against the door I enter.

Almost always it's no problem at all to board last. Until today. A man stood aside and motioned for me to enter the train before him. It was not his plan to lean against the door. He was just being chivalrous. He entered the car after me and took a spot a few feet from me. I leaned against the door.

A few moments later I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "So few people are actually chivalrous anymore -- like you were. You see, I have this system, which works because everyone rushes onto the train car..." And I told him my system.

He smiled and said he was glad it worked out and we both went back to reading our books.

Just before his stop he tapped me on the arm and said, "thanks for telling me about that. You really made my day."

And that, my friends, made MY day.

1 comment:

Leah Whitsett said...

I like this story very much.