On trying to be positive

It’s not going very well.

Two instances. One: on the train back from NJ yesterday afternoon, this older man got on around Newark and sat next to me. Not right next to me but in the end seat of a three-seater, thank goodness because he reeked of cigarette smoke. REEKED. The negativitiy begins.

At that moment I was listening to Joan Osborne’s One of Us. You know: What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us, and I actually thought, What if every annoying person put in my path was a test? If not God then at least some sort of message and I’ve failed miserably again and again? What if this smelly guy next to me is God?

Nearing New York, I took off my iPod and heard music. Staticky loud music. U2 and Cher, again and again. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from at first. Then I realized: it was “God” next to me, playing the same two staticky snippets of U2 and Cher over and over on his cell phone. Do we seriously want to hear your music? Um, NO. And I thought that God couldn’t possibly be so annoying.

Then again, maybe I just failed another test.

Instance 2: on the subway up to my apartment. A seat opened up so I sat. The batty older woman (okay, so now I’m not even trying) next to me said, “Do you want to switch?” I looked at her like she was nuts. Then she pointed at the Chinese guy on her other side.

“Do you want to sit together?” she asked.

Oh no she didn’t. He and I had been nowhere NEAR each other before we sat. In fact I had my back to him. The whole “nice” scenario played through my head. “Oh, no, that’s okay,” smile smile. Instead?

“I don’t know who that is,” I said. No smile.

Then she couldn’t leave it alone. She had to laugh and say, “I thought you two were together.”

Apparently. I didn’t answer her and stared icily ahead. I looked for someone who could be her race – which I couldn’t tell what with her giant sunglasses – to point at and say, “Are you with them?”

Two white women across from me smiled but I knew it was because the woman had laughed at her “mistake.”

Racism’s funny.

And the dude was a total FOB too.


  1. Gosh, “Instance 2” woman needs to take an anthropology class or something. FOBs are a different species from the rest of us (j/k). =D

  2. At least you didn’t hit anyone.

  3. wyn: an anthrology class on different types of asians – that would be most useful. :)

    r42k: i was close.

  4. well, your post positively made me laugh!