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Bay Area Rapid Hope Loss - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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September 27th, 2008


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12:39 am - Bay Area Rapid Hope Loss
On the BART platform, I saw a trio of women enacting a scene I had often been a part of: a train came by, and only one of them would be going on it, someone who it seemed had just been visiting, and so hugs were exchanged and two women bid their friend goodbye. Minutes later, they commented on the series of BART police entering the train, and I, feeling a kinship with them, joked that they were simply taking advantage of their free BART rides.

We boarded the next train, standing since there were no seats available. I stood near but apart. I faced the younger of the two women, who had long, curled blonde hair and rectangular glasses. She was cute. She talked a lot throughout the entire ride. She was really enjoying the freedom of being single, going out when she wanted and doing whatever. It seemed that she had recently gotten out of a yearlong relationship that had gone nowhere.

What I noticed was that she sounded really happy. And it showed in her smile and her laughs. There was something vivacious about her, and it was nice to see.

For reasons I can only partially explain (she reminded me of Someone), I felt a strong desire to tell her so. Not in an effort to hit on her or anything—a man would be a fool to hit on a woman who's just expressed joy in being single. But...just something nice to say.

Seats were vacated, and they took their seats, and I took mine, a couple down. "Your whole face lights up when you smile. It's lovely." There was an option. "Single and happy looks good on you." There was another, if it didn't spiral off into a Jeff-style monologue ("Not that I think you should be single..."). I could preface with "Unsolicited compliment." Some women hate them. Maybe she was one of them? I could be creepy. It happens. But for some stupid reason, I wanted this woman to be happy all the time because it really suited her.

I thought I'd address her on my way out, just tossing a comment off as I walked by. But I didn't think I'd have the cojones to pull it off; I needed some time to prepare. I stood up before my stop. To my surprise, my heart was beating rapidly—maybe the partial explanation was the only explanation, and my body was reverting to December 2000. She was sitting, turned to her friend and talking. I didn't want to interrupt. I had no opening. I didn't even think I could get the words out anyway; surely, they would come out garbled. I'm no good at the smooth delivery. I managed it eight years ago, but that was because I turned it into a list.

I walked out, not saying anything, my heart still pounding, and as I exited the station, I felt an inexplicable sadness. I felt a little cold and empty inside. I'm still sitting here sniffling, wishing I could have said the words, and I can't really explain why. I hope she stays single and happy for as long as she needs, and I hope she finds someone who keeps her that way. I never even knew her name.

It's probably Katie. It's always Katie.
Current Mood: melancholymelancholy
Current Music: Interpol - Length of Love

(33 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:rowanceleste
Date:September 27th, 2008 09:25 am (UTC)
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Probably too many strangers meet on a train and fall in love type movies/shows...but I do think it's true that sometimes a moment or choice defines us. Who knows? Maybe you'll see her a few months from now and you'll be able to tell her that her whole faces lights up when she smiles.

I can't think of anyone that would be insulted at that as it's not a superficial compliment and it doesn't matter if she's eight or eighty...it would still be valid, which is kind of cool. *hugs*
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 28th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
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I think it probably would have been easier if she were eight or eighty.
[User Picture]
From:electricmonk
Date:September 27th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
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Sometimes I see strange men on trains and wish they'd say something nice to me. Not always, but sometimes. Just sayin'. Other times, cute babies stare at me and that's enough.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 28th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
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Babies have it easy, man.
[User Picture]
From:upanashad
Date:September 27th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
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I'm sorry you're feeling miserable. If it makes you feel any better, I think it's really hard to talk to strangers if it's not at a party or some kind of social gathering where talk is expected. I wouldn't beat yourself up too much about not being able to do it, it doesn't mean you lack the ability to talk to girls at other times. Plus, she may have just thought you were creepy if you did say it, so maybe thinking it and silently enjoying is better?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 28th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
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Maybe. I hate the idea that it could be perceived as creepy, however weird it may be for some strange guy to be listening to your conversation and thinking about you. It seems like nothing can be just simple and happy and appreciated.
[User Picture]
From:the_narration
Date:September 27th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
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You made the right choice, I think. The last thing most people want when they're riding public transit is for some complete stranger to come up and start making personal comments about them.

Starting up a conversation with someone you don't know is hard. Where do you start? Are you just going to be bothering them? So don't sweat it.


Hey, maybe this will cheer you up. I just stumbled across it. Your city is being invaded.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 28th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
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I think someone linked that in the MM. Heh.

The last thing most people want when they're riding public transit is for some complete stranger to come up and start making personal comments about them.
Even when they're nice comments? Strangers strike up conversations all the time; it just depends on the people and the situation.
[User Picture]
From:behindpyramids
Date:September 27th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
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*hug*

Yeah. I know the feeling.

This was beautiful.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 28th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
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Thanks, Mousey.
[User Picture]
From:punzerel
Date:September 27th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
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huuuugs x 27.

(although I have to say I think the person above who said no one wants comments from a stranger is wrong..sometimes even a smile from a stranger can brighten up your day. also, it adds a little intrigue/excitement.)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 28th, 2008 12:53 am (UTC)
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Thanks, Punzie. I agree with you! A little intrigue and excitement is always a positive addition to someone's day, come on. There are billions of people in the world; it seems a shame not to want something from ANY of them.
[User Picture]
From:toughcookie42
Date:September 28th, 2008 01:49 am (UTC)
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Casual compliments, followed by minding your own business, is intriguing and mysterious and sort of sexy. Girls like to feel noticed and appreciated without feeling pressure, so that's where the minding your own business comes in. Make some sort of contact- smile, eye contact, or compliment- then ignore her. She'll think, "that was nice, and unexpected, and he's confident, but he's not actually hitting on me. I like that."

It will feel weird at first, but if you do it habitually, eventually someone will compliment back, and start up a conversation, and you never know what will happen.
[User Picture]
From:punzerel
Date:September 28th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
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YES. This is really well put. I was having a hard time defining the line between "intriguing cute stranger dude" and "creeper," and I think you got it.
[User Picture]
From:chasethestars
Date:September 28th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
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The title + goodbyes + mention of police (even if it was only BART police) had me expecting this entry to go in a completely different direction. Like someone had a heart attack and was going to die on BART or something!

On that second line, I immediately thought of Jeff before you even said Jeff! Jeff moments are adorable. In retrospect. From a 3rd party view.

Your first line was good, except that it sounds like a line. But if you already had a kinship with her! Say something next time. People love compliments. Women especially :)
[User Picture]
From:soleta_nf
Date:September 28th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
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I hope she stays single and happy for as long as she needs, and I hope she finds someone who keeps her that way.

Awwwwwwwwwwww. *hugs to you* :(
[User Picture]
From:arbitrarium
Date:September 28th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
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a man would be a fool to hit on a woman who's just expressed joy in being single.
Being happy while you're single does not mean that you aren't open to being happy in a relationship. But I do see your point.

I imagine I have little connections with strangers here and there while I'm out, and when a connection is vocalized every once in a while, it makes me feel like I'm not crazy for imagining that all those other connections really happened. So I guess I agree with compliments/comments from strangers not being creepy. It's usually nice, or at the very least it gives you something to think about.
[User Picture]
From:erinkayehashet
Date:September 28th, 2008 05:48 am (UTC)
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*hugs*

It is really sweet of you to want to tell her that, and you just expressed it very articulately here, but it's a hard thing to explain in person, I think. And while you know some personal things about her from hearing her talk, she didn't know anything about you, which also made it harder.

Incidentally, this past week was National Singles Week. And yes- it is always Katie. There's never just one of us. :) To quote Sex and the City, "The world is made up of two kinds of women- the simple girls and the Katie girls."
[User Picture]
From:trailer_spot
Date:September 28th, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)
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I think it was in January. I was watching a late afternoon screening of an English movie with subtitles (to put it in perspective, movies here usually get dubbed) at our local, small and somewhat run-down arthouse theatre, with about less than ten people in attendance. When I entered I passed a very attractive woman, elegantly dressed, in a way totally out-of-place, what you usually would describe as "out-of-your-league". Nevertheless, since for some reason we apparently both had decided to watch this movie at this particular time I thought despite all the obvious differences we seem to have something in common. She was walking in front of me when leaving the theatre and I was thinking of trying to start a conversation with some sort of remark about the movie. But of course I didn't.
I thought far more about this incident in the following days than I should have.

The "argument" that sometimes helps me doing things I otherwise wouldn't is the "What do I have to lose" argument. Though not really in situations when things have to happen quickly.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:September 28th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
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The Orbital song "Satan" begins with a sample of a man saying, "It's better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven't done." I think about that a lot.
[User Picture]
From:ethanvahlere
Date:September 29th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
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I completely relate to this; there have been several times when I've seen an attractive woman reading a book I like, and I'm always tempted to say something, but I never do. In New York City, it's harder anyway because you can see the wall people have surrounded themselves with (often with good reason, it should be noted, what with train delays, beggars on the train, and the possibility you might get attacked). It's easier for me to say something like that when it's a customer at our store. So I definitely feel your pain.
[User Picture]
From:pidgehuss
Date:September 29th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
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I don't know, I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I want to be encouragey and say that of course it would be taken in the spirit it's intended because it's YOU and you are not creepy. You are nothing but delightful.

However, it makes me intensely uncomfortable for people to make personal comments about me. More so about my personality than about my looks, for some reason. (I got called "sugar butt" downtown the other day on the way to lunch and all it did was puzzle me, as the person saw me approaching and therefore did not have a view of my derriere. Also, I wanted to ask him if that ever works out for him, but I was worried about running late and did not have the energy to engage.) Occasionally it might make me feel nice, but mostly it'll make me extremely self-conscious about even talking about my life in public. I dunno, those are the two-cents that are mine.
[User Picture]
From:stella_hime
Date:September 29th, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
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I'm torn as well. I talk to random people all the time--at grocery stores and bookstores and things like that. But for some reason, I avoid it when I'm on public transportation. I avoid eye contact and try to look unapproachable as well. I hadn't noticed it until I started to think about it, but I do. So I don't know what I would have done. If someone had complimented me when I rode the bus, I might have been okay with it, or I might have flipped my shit. But I'm a weird one and have difficulty accepting compliments anyway... It's probably best that you didn't, the odds were heavy on the whole thing being extremely awkward.

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