At a popular fast-food ‘restaurant’ that may give you cancer a guy in jeans and what looks like a blue ‘All day I dream about sex’ two-stripe jacket cuts in front of me at the counter, he starts his order before I notice so I let it go. He orders two hamburgers, one with salad “and shit” and just tomato sauce. The cashier is confused. The two-stripe changes his mind and asks for salad on both. The cashier looks to the man standing next to me and smiles. The guy reorders a cheeseburger with salad and a hamburger with tomato sauce but suddenly changes his mind and asks for cheese with salad. The cashier raises her brow in confusion and smiles forcing back her laughter. I look to the man next to me who’s cheeks are filled with air; my smile is wide and stomach pulsating. The cashier repeats the order for two cheese burgers with salad and tomato sauce, the two-stripe wearer confirms and reaches into his pocket for change. Noticing he is short he apologises and leaves. The cashier, man and I look at each other with wide eyes and mouths open, nobody moves until another cashier hails “next please”.
For a long time I've been fascinated by how people interact, some may say that this is unoriginal or that it is pointless but I figured since it has been on my mind for a long time I would start to 'document' my experiences. I have pondered over this for a few years in other forms, mainly by asking annoying questions which involve some of the elements that 'Moments with strangers' uses. Examples of these are when I, in the past, have made comments about how people share their experiences with people that they don't know. If all is private then when on a night out do you not go into a bar if there are few people? If your night out is to be with your friends surely going to an empty establishment will suffice? It is my 'fascination' with our 'need' to be around and share moments with people that we class as strangers that has lead me to creating this blog. Please note that the postings on this blog are of my own experience unless otherwise stated, the dates that I have posted are not the date in which the experience was... experienced.
Over the water rail is confusing, places are named the same with slight spelling differences. A beyond tipsy but respectable couple sit adjacent, him in a ‘jacket’, her in what smells like recently-spilt-on jeans. The woman persists her husband sleeps reassuring that she will wake him when their stop comes. He persists that she will not and they will miss their stop. It is humorous as I am not involved. Listening casually whilst ‘reading’ the newspaper I snigger like a child each time they ‘argue’. The woman persists that she will; her husband puts his head in his hands for a second and dramatically says “Lil, you will fall asleep.” Lil looks to see me smiling through the paper and reciprocates my smile acknowledging that the situation is humorous. Moments pass, the man sleeps. I read the paper. .. an article on litter. The train jolts and the man rises… we stop at my station. The woman has fallen asleep. It is apparent that they have indeed missed their stop. He turns to me as I collect my things and mumbles: “I knew she wouldn’t”, I shrug my shoulders and smile pushing my nose into my lip.
It's been light a fair few hours. I sit nearest the window to catch maximum light since I've a book I'm forcing myself to read for the sake of the author's reputation. I smell coffee and see formal dress and wonder: "If I had a job where I wore this clothing, I'd surely have a car?" A few stops out of the centre sees children aged twelve to fourteen in eye-catching purple blazers hail the bus. They are noisy and distract me from terrible fiction. I let out a full of air and roll my eyes in slight exaggeration to find an almost woman standing in the 'aisle' matching my expression. We catch the end of each other's roll, I glance away peering back after a second or two. I return to the book. With noise growing louder a girl or high pitched boy shouts as if rupturing my ear drum was intended. I flinch widening my eyes. She apologises. I look in the direction of the almost woman for comfort, I return to the book. The next stop brings an all-male school; this excites the girls behind who bang on the window for attention. Somehow, knowing that a similar act from before was probable I am not as startled as before but annoyed even more. I turn in my seat to face the annoying, she shows a blank stare and again, apologises. An older man behind meets my eye-line for a second and shakes his head. I say nothing and turn to catch the eye of the almost woman, she has become my comfort. She has left already. I look for a replacement.