wanted: savory characters
I love public transport! I really really do! Not only is it convenient and a great way to contribute to a cleaner environment, but it also affords the opportunity to encounter savory characters. And I think savory is a perfect way to describe the offbeat, the colorful, the unconventional, the peculiar, don’t you? Savory = flavorful, interesting.
My favorite time of day to take the subway or ride the bus is at night or in the early hours of morning. That’s when the really interesting people come out. During my usual transit time, I tend to see a homogenous mass, a sea of sullen faces, a train full of zombies. This is Bob. Bob hates his job. It shows. Still, every morning and each evening, I try to find that one interesting person in the car, the one that makes the ride worthwhile, the one that has a story written on his face, in the slump of her shoulders, in the lines on his hands.
And every so often, sure enough, someone stands out in the crowd and catches my eye. I sneak peeks at them, I scan them with my peripheral vision, I wonder about them and create stories in my head. At times like that, I wish I was 4 years old again, before we were told it’s not polite to stare and it’s not safe to talk to strangers. Because that little girl? That four year old in me? She would probably point and ask what that scar is on his cheek and what’s in his briefcase and does he like toast with peanut butter and bananas? But we’re all in our adult bubbles and though some are thin and transparent like dish soap suds, others are made of impenetrable titanium alloy.
And then, the other morning…
She wore a coat two sizes too big and a soupçon of bench hair. He wore a flannel shirt with tattoo sleeves and work boots with holes in them. They stood out in comparison to the commuters heading downtown in corporate attire. He looked like a badass motha… but he held her tight. He held her close. He held her softly. And it looked like the most soothing place in the world to rest a weary head, that flannel shirt, that badass chest. There was no kissing, no making out, just two tired people holding each other up almost as if they had nothing left but each other. All I saw was love. Love is love regardless of the clothes you wear.
And then I glimpsed upon the following passage in the book being read by the guy standing beside me (that’s another thing I do, inconspicuously read other people’s books on the subway and pluck sentences from them, then walk away, like a thief of words.).
The passage was “le court espace de la vie, telle que vous la concevez en ce moment…”
Loose translation: “the brief space/time that is life… as you perceive it at this moment…”
Since I just happened to be perceiving life as love, I thought… maybe this is it. Maybe we’re just here to love each other. Love knows no color, no price, no social class, no sexual preference, no status, no age. It is the one thing that every single person on this planet holds in their heart. The one constant. So maybe it’s all there is to it. And maybe it’s hokey but I’m pretty sure the meaning of life isn’t money so it might as well be love.
They got off at Berry station and I wanted the story to last just a little longer. But their love lingered, like a perfume long after someone has left the room, like the smell of his pillow after he’s gone… and I took it with me when I left. You don’t waste love like that. You take it, you recycle it, you pass it on in the form of a smile to the next savory character you meet… or one of the zombies, because zombies need love too. We all do.
P.S. Happy Halloween weekend everyone! Get out there and have fun. If there was ever a time to be a savory character… this is it!