This week I overhead a couple of one-way conversations in transit. Sometimes I listen in to the world they’re externalizing, the one they’ve created for themselves, and I wonder who the audience is supposed to be.
Man at Hollywood/Vine
Am I in the middle of a performance piece? He called me “Mother” as I walked past. He was looking for Father. They did not want him. I’m not sure about this talking man. He’s got a yellow tan with a touch of grease. He’s fully audible to the rest of the Sunday night station folk. There’s a trash bag of his belongings on the floor to his left.
There was a chain reaction of ignorance coming from the other people waiting to go Downtown. He was in a squeezebox match with himself, his voice in puberty tones.
“He’s not that guy!”
“Surprise, surprise!” followed by sounds of pouting.
“I’m not stupid,” followed by accusatory tones of a reenactment.
He slinked on the train to North Hollywood.
Woman on Sunset Blvd.
Wednesday night during rush hour, a black woman got on with two full linen shopping bags at Alvarado. She wore a white, rigid headband and had a particular regard. She had a dreadlock or two, and her conversation was measured and sparse. Her madness was casual. Keep it casual.
“You try but all these people ’round here want egg rolls. How bout a nice peach, peach cobbler? Or a ham and cheese?”
I agreed in wonder. Where could you get a nice peach cobbler, at some secret diner in Mid City?
“My skin is no good.”
She got off at Vermont, going who knows where into the evening. She exited in flip flop sandals. She had a Roman toe on her right foot folded over like a crossed finger, a woman a little off-balance from the get-go.