Saturday, 22 September 2012

Pick Up

A young guy gets on the train, juggling a bag, a plastic bag, and an umbrella. He sits down in the empty seat across from me and accidentally on purpose bumps the young woman sitting beside me as he settles himself. He apologizes profusely right away, but the young woman barely looks up from her video game when she acknowledges his apology.

He continues to fuss with his bags and just about whacks her with his umbrella a half a dozen times, all the while staring intently at her video game. Having settled his bags, his eyes flit to the girl's face and he asks her a question, apparently about her game.

Whether engrossed in her game or grossed out by the guy, she answers him curtly and returns to her game with only the briefest of glances at him. Not easily deterred, however, the young man persists, asking her more questions and trying to draw her into a conversation.

The doors open at the next station and, without looking at the guy the woman dashes off, her game held tight in her hand. Without pausing for even a second the young guy moves over into the newly empty seat (away from a slumbering salaryman). He pays no attention to the older woman who sits down in his old seat, intent instead on the young woman in the seat that is now next to him.

He gazes, interest oozing from every pore, at the sheets the woman is furiously marking as she consults a dictionary. When he asks her about her work the young woman jumps, startled by his voice and the sudden intrusion.

She smiles as he answers, explaining she does the work (a translation?) as a hobby. He compliments her linguistic prowess but she laughs and shakes her head, repeating that it is just a hobby.

She bends over and picks up her pencil again, thumbing through her dictionary with the other hand. Not easily deterred, however, the young man bends over too, and asks another question and gives another compleat. This time she doesn't laugh, only turning her head slightly and repeating that it is only a hobby.

When the doors open at the next stop her pencil, papers, and dictionary disappear as if by magic and she gives him a half nod as she flies out the door and disappears up the stairs.

Un flappable, the young man looks about, looking for woman to chat up. (Un)luckily, however, the train has reached the last stop, and even the foreigner who had been sitting across from him is getting off the train, a bemused smile on her face.


  1. He should chat up the older women. Fifty-fifty chance to get boxed on the ears or, if nothing else, at least have an interesting conversation. :D

    Though a train is perhaps not the best place to flirt. We all tend to "close off" as a survival technique, don't we?

  2. He didn't even glance at the older woman beside him... Or the foreigner across the aisle who was probably a good decade older than him! ;)

    I think a train is one of the worst places I can think of to try and pick someone up. It has happened toe a couple of times here and I always felt trapped. I couldn't move seats and get away without getting off. But, I have had a number of interesting chats with older women on trains, so you're right!

  3. How bizarre...train nampa!
    I bet there's a good movie in the idea though.

    1. "Tales of a Train Nampa-ist"! I like it! I've often thought I'd like to see a book of short stories, each story about the regulars on my morning train...