MBTA Anthropologist

The young couple who I also watched at the bus stop lean in to each other.  His lips don’t leave her cheek as he whispers things that make her smile.  They engage in a long kiss and return to whispering.  I remember being that young, when love was all consuming and the world melted away around me. We were the only ones who existed.

There is also the young woman with a toddler in a Maclaren stroller.  She carries a Coach bag and looks tired.  Is it a real Coach bag?  I used to work with a guy who could tell all the fakes.  He taught me how to spot a fake Louis Vitton (it was Chicago and they were EVERYWHERE) but I’m lost with Coach.  It doesn’t matter though.  I am tempted to start a conversation but don’t.

A man wears a decidedly khaki colored coat with “Platinum Fubu” embroidered on the right shoulder.  He exchanges conversation with a little girl sitting across the aisle from him and then they swap outdated clamshell cell phones.  “It’s mom,” says the little girl as she hands him her phone and he hands her his.  I see a blurry picture of the girl on her phone’s screen with a small, enthusiastic looking puppy. She wears a lot of bright pink and it mirrors her cheerful personality.

As a man with patchy facial hair glances at me, I quickly look down at the edge of my jacket where it has been pilling for months.  It’s not polite to stare, you know.  Didn’t your mother teach you that?  What are you looking at?  The purse my husband agonized over buying for a Christmas present?  My coat that needs a good cleaning and de-pilling?  This was my second choice, you know.  I wanted the other 3/4 length black wool coat.  It had that luxurious hood that Mr. Cookie said looked silly and I thought was wonderful.  I didn’t get it though, because my vegetarian conscience could not justify the fur lining on that same hood and around the cuffs.  What was it?  Mink?  It was delicious.  But then I started thinking about dead animals and settled on the coat I’m wearing now.  Perhaps you’re staring at my silly, oversized headphones.  I hate earbuds, you know.  They refuse to stay in my ears and hurt when I get frustrated and just try to cram them in there (as I inevitably do).  Maybe you think I’m a snob because I’m refusing to return your eye contact.

But it’s really not polite to stare, you know.

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