Thursday, December 18, 2008

EL-lo, Is it me you're looking for?

Everyone plays the game of "Who would I most likely procreate with if I were trapped on a desert island with the people on this train car."

And why not? Stepping onto an EL car is like entering a new colony, whole new group of people with whom to interact. At rush hour we are herded like bovine. Riders board the train and scan the interior:

Is there a window seat? No - except that one guy over there who is sitting in an aisle seat with his bag next to the window. Dammit. I don't want to ask him to sit there. And that's what he's doing...he's making us ALL ask if we can sit down. Why do people DO that? Can't he just scoot over?

Is there a seat at all? No.

Can I lean against the door partitions? No. Too crowded.

How am I going to entertain myself now?

It is in those first seconds of getting on the car that the brain unconsciously browses every face, makes an assessment, and then lands on the one with whom it would most likely mate should the EL car magically be dashed on a distant, deserted shore. Usually the face is quite similar to that of the viewer. That is when your eyes meet.

I know one person who met their significant other on the EL. Beyond that, the idea of locking eyes with anyone on the train and having it blossom into the glory of love sounds like an urban myth. It also sounds terrifying. However, in those moments between boarding the train and the Bing Bong of "Doors Closing" when you exit, if you've made eye contact with another body on the train, you are linked to them for duration of the ride. The two of you will act out the microcosm of your relationship :

Eyes meet, nonchalant grins, eyes instantly dart away to windows or ridiculous "Hey Fanna Fanna" White Sox ads.

Eyes creep over to give a second look, partly to see the other better, partly to see if they are still looking. If they are looking away, you may continue check them out, at it were. Do not crane your neck.

If they are still looking your way, but turn away when your eyes meet a second time, you are not allowed to look back in their direction for at least two stops, otherwise you are considered a stalker and the game is over.

If they do not turn away from you and keep eye contact, you should turn away from them to let them know that you think they might be a stalker and your aren't into that. Wait for two stops before you glance across the car again.

Should you decide to look back in their direction, they may have given up on the whole thing. If this is the case, you may be relieved that you dodged meaningful contact with someone.

Or, if meaningful contact is your "thing", you can give it a shot again and try staring (as if lost in thought) at the knee of their jeans. They may catch a glimpse of your pink winter-morning face turned in their direction and think you are ogling them again. They will either 1) find a way to casually look back over to you or B) continue to stare off intently, counting the seconds until their stop arrives, praying that you aren't a total nut job who will follow them to work.

(If this situation is reversed, you may also be sensing "Stranger Danger".)

If B is the lay of the land, you may want to show just how not crazy you are by getting up and standing by the are in important person, with places to go.

Once the train has pulled into your stop, exit quickly and don't look back. This is the end, the two of you are over and there's nothing you can do but move on.

In the unsettling event that their stop also happens to be your stop, still exit without a second thought. Things could take a strange turn if you continue to make furtive eye contact with this stranger or walk at their same pace. It will only get worse if you both get on the same bus. Best to ignore them entirely.

Repeat whole cycle again on bus with different passenger. (Some variations apply)

Any resemblance this cycle of -Hi there. You're Cute. Uh-oh. Are you crazy? What do you mean you think I'm crazy? I must bolt from the scene.- has to your own actual relationship life is purely coincidental.


Anonymous said...

Augh...I typed this up this morning before leaving for work and didn't proofread.

Foiled again.

You ever notive how typos and bad spelling make you look like Ted Kazinski?


Anonymous said...

As does misspelling Kaczynski.


Jan Smelk said...


-j-j- said...

I suppose it could have been worse...I could have spelled it "fertive" which looks sorta gross.

Spell check complete!

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