I was sitting on the Skytrain last night, riding home after a visit to my post office box. It was unlike me, but I wasn’t wearing my headphones. I had just finished walking close to four kilometres through the snow to get to the Skytrain station and just wanted to rest. A small attractive woman, of perhaps 25 years, got on the train and immediately complimented a tall, mannish girl on her scarf. She asked where she got it, if it kept her warm and if she liked it. The girl replied to the questions in a friendly, but not familiar manner. The woman went on to ask the girl about her day, if she was in school, what she did for work and her plans for the evening. The girls responded. It was a congenial conversation, the kind that you seldom see strangers have anymore. For some reason, it made me happy to see this. The train came to a stop at the girl’s station. The two told each other that it was nice to meet, and bid each other goodnight.
I was thinking of saying to the woman how nice it was to see small talk like that, when a petite blond got on the train, all wrapped up for winter.
With the same warmth, facial expression and inflection, the woman asked the blond the exact same questions, all in the exact same order. Perhaps there was a loneliness here, but it smacked of lunacy.
I put my headphones on, head against the glass and gazed through my steamed window as the lights of Burnaby blurred past me.