I don’t know what it is about me that looks approachable, but I’m having one of those days. The days where strangers decide you seem primed for conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s neat when people think I’m benign enough for chatting. It is, however, somewhat of an anomaly in Toronto. I guess it’s what happens when you leave your headphones at home. I left the house only to visit the gym. On the subway there a large dog came onto our car. Looked to be some kind of doberman mix. It was enormous, so maybe great dane? It had ears that flopped down rather than perking up, so who knows (aside from vets, etc)? I looked on adoringly as it strutted around.
I heard words appearing next to my ears. It felt like a physical embodiment of a speech bubble. Surprised, I turned to my left and realised the woman next to me was actually talking at me, rather than merely speaking out loud. She remarked on the size of the dog. What a good looking dog it was. I nodded. She began recounting the dog she used to have years ago. A big brown fluffy thing. Very intelligent, it seemed to understand emotions quite intricately. Every day when she came home it’d be there waiting at the front door, tail wagging happily. She didn’t get choked, but slightly misty eyed. I started feeling a little helpless as I realised we were pulling into my stop. I wanted to hear more. Rare as it was for a stranger to spark up conversation with me, it was rarer still for them to open up. On the other hand, I was heading to a class with a defined start time. I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to get done today. She didn’t seem emotionally fragile, but I still felt a little internal conflict. My flight response won out. I turned to her and thanked her, wished for her to have a lovely day, then got up and out of the train.
It was a hard class that happened to be taken by a Kiwi instructor. Nice dude from Wellington. The first time in years I’ve done a Les Mills class led with a New Zealand accent. On my way back from the gym I was tired, but glowing. I found a subway seat and stared blissfully at the wall, thinking about the editing I was gonna do today. I had chicken soup to make too. Was there anything I needed to pick up en route? Did we have any small potatoes to make it a bit starchier? It’d be a nice way to use that celery that’d been overstaying its welcome in the crisper. “You know, BMVs Annex store is pretty good, don’t you think?” Wait, was that my thought or did someone else say that? No, that had speech marks. My internal dialogue is in italics. That was someone else.
I turned to my right. An older man was rambling away. “They have a lot of great books, but they’re not the best for music.” He looked a little crusty, weathered. I was a bit spacey to give him my full attention. I half grunted in acknowledgement. “You have to go further out to find a really good BMV, but if you’re just looking for a few things here and there you can do a lot worse than The Annex.” Once again, I grunted. For just a second I wondered if there was anything I could get from BMV for someone’s Christmas present before remembering a) that I’m not hugely into physical media any more and b) I don’t do the Christmas present thing. Was this a new kind of embedded marketing? Was this fellow on the payroll? What kind of planetary alignment kept me arriving at my station right when conversation picked up? I smiled to myself, wished him a nice day and left the train.
After which, I haven’t left the house. Whatever it is that’s drawing people in (not having showered since yesterday morning, have I developed pheromones?), it’s being kept safe away in my home. With great power, comes great responsibility. Really though, my great responsibility is to have a great shower.