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1.1 million people ride NYC subways every day, but nobody talks. Until now.
March 29, 2011 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Just keep going, you've got nothing to lose.

A description from the video's creator, Luke Rudkowski: ...Honestly i still felt hesitant to release this but I decided to do it anyway to see your reaction and where I should go next with my work. I recently been through a hard time in my life and I am trying to find myself through expressing myself, if I am on the wrong path let me know.

Poignant and beautiful, this video will have special resonance for anyone who has a daily commute on a train, especially a packed one like in NYC on on Chicago's CTA. Do you ever wonder why people don't talk with each other even though they are packed up close to one another?

The music is by composer Yann Tiersen. It's entitled "Comptine d'un autre été: L'après-midi" and is from the Amelie soundtrack.

And here's a related video that will make you smile or laugh.
posted by zooropa (46 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Do you ever wonder why people don't talk with each other even though they are packed up close to one another

Forced proximity with no easy means of escape? No, never wondered about it at all.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:07 AM on March 29, 2011 [11 favorites]


B.. but.. MetaFilter told me just the other day that people talk to each other on the New York subway!

Really, though, I don't mind this trend one bit. "All we need to do is make sure we keep talking."
posted by knile at 11:13 AM on March 29, 2011


Oh, I don't know. I don't think I've ever been free.
posted by -->NMN.80.418 at 11:19 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see people talking all the time! just the other day I saw a lady take a seat beside a gentleman. The gentleman exclaimed "You just sat on my leg you fatass ho!". The conversation continued with the gentleman explaining just how fat her ass was and just what a ho she was until a stranger entered the conversation to explain to the gentleman that he might be upsetting the lady. The gentleman then explained how the stranger was a dumb motherfucker who should mind his own fucking business.

Great conversation! Would listen again!
posted by Ad hominem at 11:20 AM on March 29, 2011 [24 favorites]


Sometimes I talk to people on the subway, and sometimes I don't. I used to keep a huge list (lost now) of interesting or wild things I saw in the subway. One of the deeper times was a dude who was crying and just started talking to me because he was coming from his friend's funeral. Young guy. His friend was caught in the crossfire perhaps, got shot, something like this. He just needed to talk to someone. Anyone. Or else one time I was talking about adolescent sexual shit with my friend and a cute girl was overhearing us and had to join in our conversation. So, yeah, I've run the gamut. More often than not people are wrapped up in their own world; this is New York after all, people treasure their anonymity. I wouldn't change that for the world. It would suck if you were obligated to converse with every frickin' person you run into during the day.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:24 AM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do you ever wonder why people don't talk with each other even though they are packed up close to one another?

Do the people talk in Hell? I doubt it.
posted by DU at 11:28 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, really depends. Nights and Weekends people talk sometimes, people are headed out to do something fun, no real rush. Rush hour is very different. You are packed in, getting hit with briefcases and backbacks, everyone is tense. The few fistfights I have seen on the train all happened during rush hour, it is just unnatural to be that close to people.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:28 AM on March 29, 2011


I'll tell you why I don't talk to people on the subway: because the sheer enormity of New York City makes me feel tiny and foolish and alone.

I'm right there with the creator of this video on one point: Nothing hammers home the sheer teeming size and diversity of the City like using the subway. I've never experienced anything remotely like it. So many different people and different languages. And every single one of them has a lifetime's worth of story all wrapped up in their head, and brother let me tell you: I can barely stay on top of my own narrative.

And the pressure of so many narratives drives some people crazy. Living in the City you very quickly come to understand that no matter what you do and how good at it you are, there are a lot of people who do it better, and they live here too.

And a lot of the people here have some pretty big problems, and they have to ride the subway, too. And sometimes their problems get out of hand and they start talking. And I don't mean they start engaging people, I mean they start talking or mumbling or flipping out. I feel terrible for these ill people, but they also scare the everloving shit out of me. I'm not particularly agoraphobic, but some days I don't want to go out at all because that means riding the subway, which in turn means I've got let's say a one-in-ten chance of having to deal with a problematic person. And you know I feel for them but what the fuck, man, stop grinning at me. I extend to others the courtesy I hope will be extended me, that of anonymity.

I know that everybody else on the train has also probably had to deal with a problematic person, and you know what? I don't want to strike up a conversation with somebody because I know what I'd be thinking if somebody struck up a conversation with me, I'd be thinking oh shit are they going to turn crazy on me now?

I don't even know what I'm trying to say here. I guess if a well-meaning kid wants to shove a camera in people's faces while they're semi-cornered in a moving subway car, he can do that. I'd probably have let him interview me. I'd have guessed he was a film student. Film students do shit like this all the time, not just in New York City. If he'd asked me what motivated me more, I would've told him fear.
posted by pts at 11:33 AM on March 29, 2011 [14 favorites]


I really liked this video and it's message. I was surprised to find that it's affiliated with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' Infowars (previously on MeFi).
posted by joedan at 11:35 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


People talk on the subway all the time. Especially if you commute with a toddler like I do.

Now, there are also millions of people who drive in New York each day who are stuck close together in traffic, but they never talk. I wonder why?
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 11:37 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


See, now I've done the commuter rail into Boston for seminars a few times from the burbs - and it is an entirely different story. The folks arrive at the same time every day, they see the same people every day, they know their routines. As such, every train I have gotten on has at least one rowdy group of diverse backgroud (well, $90K+ income bracket white folks but they all don't do the same job, nor work for the same company) people talking about any number of standard topics: sports, weather, political process, etc.

But the commuter rail may just be a different animal - 45 minute commute, fixed interval, fixed destinations. I don't know when someone is going to get on the subway; I do know that the guy with the green jacket will be an hour late if he doesn't get his car parked, the $4.00 into the lot payment stand, and get on a car. I may know he likes the third car from the front, and as long as he's not pressed for time - that's where he's going.

One other thing that separates the commuter rail from the subway - there's an icebreaker. Everyone has a ticket or a card and an attendant punches it or ensures that you have the card. Everyone has to talk to or interact with him - he limbers people up - preventing them from completely retreating. The same is not so on the subway.


While its been a decade since I took the subway every day, I know that if you accidentally get in a urine or vomit drenched subway car, you know right upfront nobody wants to talk.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:38 AM on March 29, 2011


I don't know - I guess it's me - but EVERY unemployed drug addicted military veteran on the stinking bus sits down next to ME and has to tell me everything about their lives.

Not to mention every lonely, divorced, way older than me working lady (and I don't mean "working" in THAT sense, but I do have stories...) who feels like she has to talk to me about their lives and then hit on me.
posted by Billiken at 11:43 AM on March 29, 2011


And the pressure of so many narratives drives some people crazy. Living in the City you very quickly come to understand that no matter what you do and how good at it you are, there are a lot of people who do it better, and they live here too.

Or, conversely, that there are a lot of folks who are worse off (and occasionally worse people) than you, even if just for a day. I don't know if it's different in other subways, but there's a noticeable class (and, for that matter, race) division by line on the DC Metro. It's become a lot more noticeable and contentious in the last decade.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:46 AM on March 29, 2011


I couldn't listen to this because I couldn't turn off the piano soundtrack.
posted by kozad at 11:46 AM on March 29, 2011


I thought this was an interesting flick... then I clicked the one about Stephen Colbert linked as a related video. Mr Rudkowski has some whacky opinions that really fail to take Hanlon's Razor into account.
posted by DigDoug at 11:49 AM on March 29, 2011


The one Friday night I took the London tube everyone was talking to everyone else as if they were all old friends. Joking, laughing, who are you what's your story well cheers mate, and exeunt. No idea if that's the norm for the UK or if there was something funny in the air that day but for this metrorail veteran it was as weird as it was beautiful.
posted by clarknova at 11:51 AM on March 29, 2011


I thought this was an interesting flick... then I clicked the one about Stephen Colbert linked as a related video. Mr Rudkowski has some whacky opinions that really fail to take Hanlon's Razor into account.

Wow. Does he take Stephen Colbert--the character--seriously?!
posted by zombieflanders at 11:59 AM on March 29, 2011


Clearly the Meaning of Life is kill or be killed, and make many babies. The biological world has proven that.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 11:59 AM on March 29, 2011


I think the reason these types of "Intimate Moments with Strangers" videos are so popular are because they remind us that other human beings are human beings. Day-to-day we live in our own dramas, where we consider ourselves to be complex, multifaceted, multidimensional characters but those around us are essentially props. This isn't a judgment of our selfishness, merely a statement of fact. They can't be anything else--we cannot truly experience other people's lives so we can't possibly truly understand the depth of other people's motivations, so we have to flatten others into essentially one-dimensional understandings of who they are in order to deal with them. It is a sad place to exist, to be a three-dimensional character in a one-dimensional world.

Or to put it more simply, when a guy cuts you off he's an "asshole" not "Jim Smith who grew up in Hoboken and just moved to New York City last year and is feeling overwhelmed by his job and his girlfriend annoyed him all day and he got into a fight with his brother last week and that's still bothering him but he's excited about his band landing another gig and his favorite food is apples with peanut butter on them and he has a dog who he loves named Ranger and [insert other details about his life and history]." I mean, not only is it impossible for us to read other's minds and live their lives, but to be able to do that with every human being in the world would be completely overwhelming, information overload. Most of us can barely handle the complexity of our own personalities. If we could, there wouldn't be a need for therapists and a whole host of self-help resources that are essentially geared towards aiding us in self-analysis.

Anyway, when we see these random moments of strangers pouring out their hearts on a train/bus/in the middle of a city/in a bar/etc we are reminded in a visceral way that the tumultuous worlds of thought within ourselves exist inside other people as well. It doesn't matter whether we agree with their opinion or not. For a moment there is a connection knowing that they're wrestling with the same petty day-to-day troubles and existential crises, and these things are happening entirely independent of our own lives. Like finding a long-lost sibling, we recognize ourselves in others and for that moment we do not feel alone.
posted by schroedinger at 12:04 PM on March 29, 2011 [29 favorites]


I lived in NYC for over a couple of years, and I rode the subway every day. I often thought
the ideas that this filmmaker espouses as his reason for making the film.

Saying that, I'm so glad he did. It's moving, real, and shows both the horrible alienation
of living like rats, and the glowing humanity underneath it all.

This is a sincerely nice piece of art.
posted by gcbv at 12:06 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Curious: Do people in other countries that routinely use mass transit, especially ones that are very culturally different from the US, have this same thing about not talking?

I used to take the bus a lot. Every now and then, if there were only a couple of us, we'd end up conversing about something. Almost never seemed to happen when it was busy. Never really thought about why.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:11 PM on March 29, 2011


Thanks, gcbv and schroedinger. I was beginning to think the Blue was getting overrun by hard-hearted trolls.
posted by zooropa at 12:12 PM on March 29, 2011


Yep, this falls in the category of stuff I can't watch at work because then I'll have to tell my coworkers that I have terrible hay-fever which they won't buy for a second and they'll just start to act strange around me.
posted by danl at 12:18 PM on March 29, 2011


there are also millions of people who drive in New York each day who are stuck close together in traffic, but they never talk.

Actually, they do. They either roll the window down and scream "I'm driving here!" or so such, or else they are on the cellphone.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:23 PM on March 29, 2011


"I know we haven't met, but I don't want to be an ant, ya know?"
posted by mrgrimm at 12:24 PM on March 29, 2011


Do you ever wonder why people don't talk with each other even though they are packed up close to one another?

Uh, no, in fact it seems pretty obvious: they don't talk with each other precisely because they are packed up close to one another. Minding one's own business is a perfectly reasonable strategy for dealing with a situation where total strangers are forced to invade each other's personal space.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:27 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would be sorely tempted to take away the camera of anyone who insisted on filming me when I didn't consent to it. I also don't like the hard-sell technique of forcing the non-compliant interviewee to choose someone else to be a victim. It reminds me of something that a corporate culture would do during a team-building exercise which wouldn't result in team-building but in awkwardness and resentment.
posted by chanology at 12:28 PM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you don't understand the silence on the Monday morning subway ride to work, you're not really a New Yorker. It's not because New Yorkers are alienated; it's the precise opposite, in fact. New Yorkers are all just one big dysfunctional happy family. They don't have to talk to each other all the time -- they know they're always going to be there for each other, on the subway platform, on the sidewalk, in the bagel shop, with a whole rich universe of shared topography and experience uniting them. At the drop of the hat, when something noteworthy happens (oh, say, like a giant rat running through the subway car, or terrorists blowing something up), they'll be chatting and crying together like a coven of spinster aunts.
posted by yarly at 12:36 PM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


As a Vermonter who visits the city frequently, I come for street conversation of all kinds. As noted, New Yorkers are among the most open beings on the planet as shown by the smiles of the people in this video. This would never work on the Rome Metro or the MRT in Singapore. And in uptight independent New England you could possibly be investigated for talking to a stranger for no reason. We have lived on our road 20+ years and have little or no interaction with our neighbors.
posted by Xurando at 12:48 PM on March 29, 2011


One time I was riding the subway up to 34th street in Manhattan. It was after most of the morning rush, like 9:30 or 10:00 and the train was surprisingly empty.

An attractive young lady sitting across from me was one of the only people on the car, and I was just reading a book as usual. She was reviewing some kind of flash cards and I kept catching her looking at me. Or she kept catching me looking at her, hard to tell sometimes.

She dropped the cards for the first time just after the first subway stop, they scattered on the floor between us. 10 years earlier, I would have stopped what I was doing and heroically come to her assistance, but I'd learned that wasn't always a good idea in New York and kept stoically reading. (I had been screamed at by a woman who had dropped her handbag within my first 24 hours in the city, and I'm a quick learner. I guess.)

She dropped her cards the third time around 23rd street. It seemed kind of stylized and intentional at this point and I made a mental note of it, but I just kept reading. After she picked her cards up this time, she sat directly next to me and scooted very close with her leg pushed against mine. My heard jolted. There were still only two or three other people on the car - no space reason to sit this close to me - and I'm not the kind of person that women just come up to and sit with for no reason. Maybe I knew her from somewhere, or she was a Scientologist or something? I put on an uncomfortable talking-with-strangers smile and slowly turned to her to get the punchline.

She was looking at me squarely in the face with a shy little smile and flirtatious eyes. I didn't recognize her at all. She took a breath, and I knew I was about to learn what was going on. Her hands were folded neatly in her lap and she held the flashcards.

She said, "Ook ook."

I felt a surge of panic. I smiled a bit and nodded and turned back to stare blankly at my book. I knew - KNEW - that I'd missed something important, so I turned again, and she was still looking expectantly at me. Even leaning forward and nodding in anticipation of my answer. I smiled and nodded again. I scrambled to wrap some meaning around her words. Was it a foreign greeting? Something from Beavis & Butthead? Something written on my clothing? Slang?

The train pulled up to 34th, and I slid my book back into my messenger bag. The girl quickly put her cards back in her bag, stood up quickly and huffed. I felt guilty without knowing why. Without looking at me, she grumbled, "I just wanted to know if it was any good..."

She carefully avoided eye contact as she stomped off and was gone.

I replayed the conversation, gauged her reaction and retraced my responses, and I knew I'd messed something up but couldn't begin to imagine what it was. I mulled it over all morning, and over lunch I finally realized at least part of what had happened.

She hadn't said, "Ook ook." She had said, "Good book?"

I'm one reason people don't talk on trains.
posted by mullicious at 12:50 PM on March 29, 2011 [19 favorites]


See, I know people who've been to the US. And they tell me US americans, complete strangers, will just starting talking to you out of the blue at all kinds of unexpected moments. Strangers asking you about your day. In shops, restaurants, all kinds of places!
So I know for a fact that this video does not portray NY accurately.
posted by joost de vries at 12:52 PM on March 29, 2011


I also don't like the hard-sell technique of forcing the non-compliant interviewee to choose someone else to be a victim. It reminds me of something that a corporate culture would do during a team-building exercise which wouldn't result in team-building but in awkwardness and resentment.

Agreed. This strikes me as kind of ... condescending. Personally, I have conversations on the subway all the time. In the last week, I had:

* an Albanian guy laugh and ask if I'd been snorting Coke (I have a head-cold!),
* a moment of mutual nerdhood with a young guy when I noticed he had the same video game as me in his GameStop bag ("Street Fighter IV, huh? Who's your main?"), and
* I took a minute to quietly thank a middle-aged Armed Forces veteran (23 years in the service!) for respectfully telling a train car full of "Soldiers for Christ" that she finds their message offensive, and if they really thought about what soldiers do, they wouldn't think it an appropriate thing to do for Christ.

So yeah, we New Yorkers talk -- and not even with our fists! -- all the time. But when we don't, it doesn't mean we're all lonely souls, wandering lost. It means we want to read our books or decompress from our crappy jobs or think about what the hell to make for dinner.
posted by Amanojaku at 12:57 PM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Excellent idea! Love this.
posted by littlemanclan at 2:22 PM on March 29, 2011


The one Friday night I took the London tube everyone was talking to everyone else as if they were all old friends.

I think the key there is Friday night - I try to be on my bike as much as possible, but I've had my share of Green Line commutes in the 18 years I've lived in Boston. Morning commute is generally silent, no matter how packed the train is. Everyone seems to respect that a lot of people are still waking up. Evening commute slightly noisier with passengers relaxed after the work day, but still fairly subdued. Weekend days with tourists more animated. Weekend nights, especially on the lines that serve the colleges? Loud and boisterous.
posted by jalexei at 3:19 PM on March 29, 2011


I found that this video told me as much about myself as it did about the participants. I wouldn't have credited most of the interviewees with the thoughtfulness they showed in their responses, had I seen them on a subway. I appreciate the chance to recalibrate how I see other people.

If you'll indulge a quote from Richard Linklater's Waking Life:
I know we haven't met, but I don't want to be an ant. You know? I mean, it's like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continously on ant autopilot, with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there. All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient, polite manner. "Here's your change." "Paper or plastic?' "Credit or debit?" "You want ketchup with that?" I don't want a straw. I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don't want to give that up. I don't want to be ant, you know?
posted by jackrational at 3:36 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


A week or two ago, a clean, shiny couple (in their late 30s, maybe) got on my morning bus and made an announcement that they've started a church on the UWS and they'd love for anyone to come (or something like that; I'm not a morning person). They managed to strike up a conversation about tennis with a guy sitting near me. Now I see them all the time and they always manage to strike up a conversation with somebody. And the people always seem into it, too- I'm generally not up for being that friendly, especially with bus people, who I find are generally more crazy and ornery than subway people.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:00 PM on March 29, 2011


Well, no one wants to talk to someone who apparently needs to be the center of attention in a city of 1.1million people. It's obnoxious.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:18 PM on March 29, 2011


Dude. Come on.

We get it. New York is big, there's a lot of people around all the time, you don't know them, it's all very anonymous. But it works this way. What this guy seems to take for coldness is actually courtesy. If someone needs directions, suddenly everyone in that silent subway car will have an opinion about the best way to get to Fulton Street. But I'm trying to take a little downtime between business meetings or classes or picking up the kids. I don't want to talk to you about whether I'm "motivated more by fear or love." And if I don't want to talk, you're going to record my face and put it on YouTube as an example of "the grumpy guy who doesn't get it." What the fuck. Get off my train.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 5:26 PM on March 29, 2011 [11 favorites]


I like what we are change is doing with this video, a lot. It's kind of sad (maybe because I remember a time when people talked a lot more in public, rather than sit around looking morose).

What I didn't appreciate much is the morose solo-piano soundtrack, which after about 20 years in 'meaningful' film is ... overused. There's a lot of sensitive music being made right now, available for free from Netlabels. Living artists need attention too.
posted by Twang at 5:55 PM on March 29, 2011


You used to be warm and loving, MetaFilter. What happened?
posted by reductiondesign at 5:58 PM on March 29, 2011


DU: "Do you ever wonder why people don't talk with each other even though they are packed up close to one another?

Do the people talk in Hell? I doubt it
"

It's hard to carry on a conversation over all that screaming.
posted by bwg at 6:19 PM on March 29, 2011


Do you ever wonder why people don't talk with each other even though they are packed up close to one another?

Because that may be the only time I have to myself and my own thoughts that entire day.
posted by mhoye at 6:46 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I ride the subway to and from work every day. This video annoyed the living hell out of me, as I'm sure he would if I saw him in person. Two reasons.

First of all, it's a complete straw man to characterize a subway car filled with people not-talking-to-each-other as he does: "Nobody ever talks to each other. There's not even any eye contact. There's no human interaction. There's no humanity. There's no life." Even if people don't talk to each other, there's frequently eye contact. Even without eye contact, though, there's constant human interaction. Every one of my fellow humans on that train is engaged in the same complicated dance of physical overlap with other people. We shift a bit to make room for people on the seats, or not. We look at maps; look at the books other people are reading; look at everyone's shoes; and in that heavily moderated environment small gestures are charged with meaning. There are many many more ways of having complex and meaningful human interactions than talking about why you're in New York with strangers. Setting up this kind of straw man is not only manipulative filmmaking (though it is that), it sounds to my ear really prescriptive of the kinds of interactions this guy is willing to accept as "meaningful." I don't need to be told that my daily commute lacks life and humanity because I'm not interrupting the stranger reading next to me to ask them why they're here. I find it just as much of a source of life and humanity to sit quietly next to someone who's reading a book.

Second - doubly annoying because he's breaking what I think of as the primary rule of NYC subway interaction: consent. If you're having a direct interaction with someone that they aren't capable of turning down, you're an asshole. I will listen to a mariachi band on the sidewalk, or in the subway station, or ANYWHERE WHERE I'M CAPABLE OF CHOOSING TO WALK AWAY, and will probably give them a buck or two. In the subway, I want to take an axe to that accordion. This guy is the equivalent of the "FREE HUGS" guy leaving the park, riding the train, and sitting next to people and demanding that they either hug him or point out someone he can hug.

TL;DR: This guy tramples everyone's lives so he can make a movie in which he's the hero who brought feelings to the subway.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 6:50 PM on March 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


I got back to the railway station and was doing a good job of waiting for my train by sleeping when my phone rang. My brother, finding out my actual time of arrival in Bundaberg. I made my farewells and made to lie down again when the woman next to me spoke.

Now what she said to start off with I don't really remember. Perhaps it was that she didn't like travelling by rail, or maybe it was the reasons for why she was doing so, all of which involved talking about her children. Older people seem to love talking about their children for some reason, children my own age.

I smiled and nodded politely and noted it was only half an hour that I had to wait through this talk. Of course I was fascinated by that she got invited to hobnob with equestrian owners at some big show on the weekend. Of course her children's career success was something I had to know about.

"I'm glad I had my tubes tied then," she said. "For that's when I found out about my husband. He wasn't a good sort, you know."

"Sorry to hear it."

"He was one of those sorts, those who arrange men's groups to travel to Thailand." Oh. Sex parties, I thought. "He would get a girl and a bunch of photographers together to hide what they were really doing, but I knew." She nodded firmly. "They were interfering with children."

Now I put her firmly in the strange-person-with-fanciful-story basket, which is a very large basket now that I think about it. Mostly filled with people coming up to me and just speaking and I've never even looked at them before in my life.

"Not too long ago a storage company sent me all his stuff, even though we've been divorced all these years. I don't even know how they knew where I lived or what my name was. But I got all those photographs and sent them to the High Commission so they could take action. But did they? No! They did nothing!"

"Oh, how horrible," I prompted. It was like an episode of Water Rats, only without water; not nearly so digestible in real life.

"I went down there and made them phone the officer in charge of the investigation all those years ago. Then they took notice! They put him on speakerphone and he greeted me by name, asked about my children. My husband's in jail now for 20 years."

"Goodness!"

"My husband sent me a letter recently, asking me if I had anything to do with his going to jail. I told him that things always come back to us."

The train came up.

"Nice to know you," I said, and shook her hand. "I'm glad to have met someone with such strength of character."

We parted ways. Twenty years seems like such a little for, from what I could get from what she didn't say, interfering with her children as well as being involved with a paedophilic racket. Of all the people who've begun talking to me like they couldn't help themselves she's got to have been one of those I was really glad to have heard the story of. Not because she was terribly interesting in her delivery, but she did the right thing and it's not always the easy way.

Brisbane, Australia, back in 2005.
posted by owlrigh at 10:03 PM on March 29, 2011


You know, some of us like being quietly anonymous and engaged in our private thoughts. It's not necessarily a bad thing.

Friggin' extroverts. Goddamn.
posted by Scattercat at 12:37 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Curious: Do people in other countries that routinely use mass transit, especially ones that are very culturally different from the US, have this same thing about not talking?

Take out the mass transit and apply silence to every aspect of human life and interaction and you have Finland.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:26 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


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