Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It’s the ensemble cast that makes the same play watchable day in and day out

I’ve been taking the same morning train for about 16 months now. It’s my morning routine that only gets altered when I have to jaunt to some forsaken court in the middle of nowhere or I have an early trial in the city. As such, I’ve gotten to recognize, and in some cases know, those who do the exact same thing I do each and every morning.

This express train stops several times before I get on in the morning, thus, there is the recurring cast of characters already on board when I step into the car. After months of observation leering, these are the people that make up a large part of my daily commute:

The Matriarch
As her name implies, she sits in a position at the front of the train where she can observe and judge the whole train car. She is on a first name basis with the conductor and she knows pretty much everyone in the car that rides this train daily. She will cast approval when you sit next to someone of the opposite sex by smiling. She will cast disapproval if an individual of questionable appearance sits next to someone of the opposite sex by continually glancing or scowling at that individual.

The Hot Girl
This one is the most attractive woman in the car. She’s hot. But professionally hot. She’s reserved, quiet and the seat next to her is the holy grail of the morning ride into the city. Occasionally, she will be seated with the Matriarch while reading a romance novel. A month ago, the one time I got the seat next to her, I got the nod and smile of approval from the Matriarch. Then yesterday, I accidentally stepped on her getting off the train. It’s a budding first grade romance, I know.

The Conference Caller
This individual is a hybrid of a loud talker and a professional. Every morning that he gets on the train, he sits as close to the Matriarch as possible. About 10 minutes after I get on, he dials into his morning conference call. He is not quiet as he bends over to talk while sticking a finger into his ear so he can hear the other participants. Frankly, we think that his prison work-release program doesn’t let him out early enough so that he can take an earlier train into the city and make that conference call from the privacy of his office.

The Obnoxiously Loud Talking Senior Citizens
These two women sit together every day in the middle of the car. Typically, they are right behind my usual seat in the car. The problem with them is two-fold: (i) they get on the train after I do and (ii) they talk so loudly that my headphones cannot drown their talks about which one of their friends is having fluid removed.   It is a minor annoyance but their topics of conversation never cease to entertain.  Or disgust.

The Attractive 1L
Similar to the Hot Girl but the East German Judge takes a few points off for her always working on Legal Writing assignments or reading for a class. She isn’t on the same train every day, but my guess is that she has early morning classes three or four days a week. I have to stifle the urge to suggest to her that she should go get her MBA instead.

The Sleeper
This is the guy that is on the train from the beginning and can sleep through the train hitting something.  It's a gift that I do not not possess.  Occasionally, he will shift and end up napping on my shoulder...but it's no biggie, he doesn't drool.

The guy I talk to everyday
My friend is more or less the polar opposite of me. He’s in upper management of a large company in the city. He is senior enough that his job allows him to come into work any way he likes. He sports a well-worn heavy metal band ballcap each day. He and I get on the train at the same stop every day and we talk about tatoos, women, and everything in between and it’s never boring. For the record, he was the one that got the disapproving look from the Matriarch when he sat next to the Hot Girl. But we both know that it was worth it.