As someone who has probably ridden more public transportation than is good for me (technically, I have written public transportation on five continents), and as a person who is at least moderately alert at times to what is going on around me, sometimes I hear far more than I really want to. That is often the case when people are in public and are not always aware that they are in public, and are uncomfortably open about their personal business when I am not interested in hearing it. So, today I thought it would be worthwhile to comment at some length about the amusement I found today during the course of my trip back from the Clackamas Town Center to the general area of my new apartment.
At the beginning of my trip, I found a nice place to sit down at the back of the train to read in peace and quiet, and there was a young lady who was sitting near me who was likewise reading. However, while I was reading my book on the Renaissance rulers of Europe, the young lady was reading Fifty Shades of Gray. One can tell a lot about someone by the books that they are reading. What the books I read say about me is probably a bit different from what her book said about her, and she probably felt the same way that I did. This is at least the second time that I have noticed someone reading that particular book around me in public while I was traveling—the first time being in the Inchon International Airport on my way from Thailand to the United States.
Shortly after the young lady departed the train, I was treated to a most unpleasant scene, being uncomfortably close to a lovers’ quarrel between an African-American man on Social Security and his white stripper girlfriend who were arguing about money, the propriety of stripping, jealousy, and the fact that she did not like hearing him sound like her father. The conversation was highly uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, one of them being the fact that she spent much of that particular round of the quarrel crying about how hard it was to have old men pay to see her naked, and that she was upset that she had been crying (apparently this fight had gone on for hours, off and on) while at work, which made her feel unprofessional. Being around couples fighting and quarreling is something that makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable, which may be surprising to some people who would think that I should be used to it by now.
After getting off the first train and waiting to transfer to the second train, I got to chat briefly with a woman who was standing near me for the train going to the Clackamas Town Center, which was to take her rather energetic daughter and rather sedate son from the Blazers game (which they had left early) back home. Apparently they had left the game early, only to spend a lot of time waiting at that particular transfer station from one train line to another, whereas they could have gotten home at the same time had they stayed for the end of the game and then come home on the right line, since it goes right by the Rose Garden, where the Portland Trail Blazers play. As is often the case, I was pleased by how easy it is to chat with friendly strangers, no matter where one finds them.
After going on the second train, which was much more crowded (so much so that I had to stand until it got close enough to my stop where it was no longer of any purpose to sit down), I got to listen to more arguing, this time by cell phone. In this case, a person near me was arguing on the phone how she was unable to take care of someone (who apparently required a lot of care) because she had a job to do and her own kids to take care of, who had been blamed for causing trouble that the other person had really caused. While that argument was going on, which I was only able to hear half of and infer the rest by context, I noticed that around me most of the people were fairly tired, as it had been a long and exhausting day for many of us. As someone had told me today, either I need to get a weapon or a car. Personally, I’d prefer a car, as long as it was a reliable one.