Wednesday, July 1, 2015

commuter diaries: velcro for grownups

Due to the location of my internship, I now commute to Salt Lake City via public transportation. And with public transportation comes the smelly seatmate, the man with no sense of boundaries, the people who've lived extraordinary lives, and everyone inbetween. These are their stories.

The Trax Blue Line was rather crowded when I boarded on my way home from work. I sat in an empty seat surrounded by a cluster of people, who, due to the mixture of forward facing and sideways facing seats, formed a neat little circle. 

As the train lurched forward, I noticed the man closest to me staring quite fixedly at my legs. I was both uncomfortable and confused; uncomfortable because a complete stranger was staring pointedly at my legs and confused because I was wearing a flowy calf length skirt, so there wasn't much to see anyway. Also, my legs are so pale they're practically translucent. So there's that.

After a few more moments of me uncomfortably trying to both shift my skirt so it covered as much skin as possible and pretending that I didn't notice the man's stare, he spoke. "I gotta question: How's them stay on?"

I looked up from my phone, completely baffled and having no idea whatsoever what he was talking about. A few awkward seconds passed before I realized he was pointing at my shoes: a pair of oxfords that had what appeared to be laces.

"Them don't tie," the man said. "An' so I was wonderin', how's them stay on if them don't tie?"

Finally I understood. "Oh," I said, "they're not really laces. They're elastic." I reached down and tweaked one of the "laces" to demonstrate their springiness.

"Oh," he murmured thoughtfully. "Elastic."

"'s like velcro for grownups."

The man guffawed. "Velcro for grownups!" He repeated. "I like that. It's funny." He paused for another moment and then pointed to the shoes of the young business man opposite him. "His tie!" The business man, too, was wearing oxfords, but his had honest to goodness shoe laces and were tied neatly.

The business man looked at his shoes. "Yeah, mine do tie," he agreed, shooting an amused grin my way.

Shoe Guy babbled on, "So because his tied and all, I was lookin' at your shoes and thinkin', how's them stay on if them don't tie?" He chuckled to himself as if this were the most entertaining conversation he'd ever had.

"Well, they stay on just fine," I assured him. "And they're quite comfortable."

"They look very sophisticated," the business man said with a laugh. "Even if they don't tie."

I thanked him for the compliment and settled back into my seat, murmuring my consent as the Shoe Guy began a new rampage about how dangerous it is for women to walk in stilettos.

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