Friday, April 20, 2012


Standing on the subway this morning, holding on to the slick of greasy pole, I stood before a woman sitting in a fur vest who, after staring out into nothing, erupted into sudden laughter.  Shoulder-shaking, head thrown back, breathless squeaking, twelve year old girl at a sleepover with underwear in the freezer kind of laughter.  She wasn't holding a book, a phone, listening to a music player, or watching a scene unfold. I searched for the cause of laughter. I looked at the people sitting beside her, to see if anyone joined in, to see if she was a part of something I could not place, but she laughed alone. 

So, I deemed her crazy.  Harmless crazy (on the New York City subway we must make these distinctions) but crazy none-the-less.

After the laughter subsided, and this laughter had gone on for quite some time, after she caught her breath, wiped her eyes and sat still, she turned to the man sitting beside her, who had been quietly reading a book, and fell into the ease of conversation, because, all along, they had been paired.

Their connection surprised me.  I had labeled him: 'man reading'.  Her: 'crazy person laughing'. I had thought them strangers to one another.  And I don't know why it bothered me, to discover their togetherness.  But it did.


  1. I thought yesterday post was today. While I was commenting this came up. :-)

    Well, I'm glad she has someone. I love to people watch. You learn so much. We don't have subways, but I watch them in the malls and grocery stores. It's what we writers do. :-)

  2. LOL. Aw ... I would have been pleasantly surprised!

  3. I love your admittance that it bothered you. I think the thought of having someone with her who clearly didn't share in her humor would've bothered me, or at least made me sad for such an apparent jolly soul.
    Catherine Denton

  4. I love moments like this that just jar you and make you more aware of the world. Makes me want to live in New York :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  5. Oh no, I wonder how many people think I'm crazy! Sometimes I think of something that happened days, months, even years ago, with nothing to put the thought in my mind, and just laaaaaaaugh out loud. And then I realize I'm laughing about something so far away, and then I can't stop, can't catch my breath, and I just have to put my head down and let it all out.

    Usually this happens at work. Or church. Or in the middle of a serious conversation. It always involves a lot of explanation.

  6. It interesting how first impressions aren't always accurate. Great post!

  7. Amazing. I love these sorts of moments when one's impressions turn out to be different ... this is the stuff of life. Great post!

  8. Laugh-out-loud funny!

  9. I love people watching and then making up stories about my victims....