Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A duel

A Rubik’s Cube on a subway, comes an unlikely vendor, and a choice. A good very short story.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Oh, that was fun. It alleviates the old guilt I used to feel at watching my neighbors on the subway. Diane Cook legitimates voyeurism, in that particular circumstance, anyway. Charming. Thank you.

Disgusting man! You know what vendors always come unlikely. I dont understand what Kate found so funny abt this story.
Now i m really mocking at her.

Mock away, Leo.


After I posted my comment, I wondered why I used the word “voyeurism” which was a little strong for the type of observation one is inclined to make on the subway. Then I remembered an incident. Once I was riding on the subway, going to my class, and absorbed in my reading. I suddenly became aware of movement and soft noises behind me - it being one of the older trains with seats facing forward and backward as well as to the center. I turned slightly, and there, behind me, were a couple doing some pretty serious canoodling, so close that I could have been a participant if I had so chosen.


We all know, in New York, you are not supposed to notice anyone who is not seeking to be noticed. Privacy is an imperative, mostly because impossible. On the other hand, you are supposed to be constantly aware of your surroundings so that you do not step in, or sit in something nasty, nor find you are grabbing the last empty seat on the train only to be seated next to The Son of Sam, muttering, nor in the proximity of such a totally absorbed couple.


When I first arrived in New York from Oregon, on one of my first subway rides, the doors opened next to me and there were a pair of shod feet, turned up, the owner apparently prone on the platform. Some folks were stepping over him to get into the car. Most went to other doors to enter. Some kid began shouting for a subway cop to come. My friends sat calmly discussing whether or not “the guy” was probably dead. People who had stepped over him said he was definitely dead. But almost everyone except that kid was willing to allow that man total privacy. He could be dead on the platform if he wished. It was his business. The doors closed and we slid away.


But to get back to the first-mentioned situation; my panic was rising. Upon reflection, I think the couple sat behind me after I was already seated, although being only a temporary and occasional New Yorker, I could have been oblivious when I sat down. I looked around at my fellow riders. People were smirking, with their eyes averted. One woman looked disgusted and glared at me sympathetically. One guy’s eyes met mine and he shrugged. So, I was the person under observation, not the slurping couple behind me. By glancing about, I had opened my position for comment.


I gathered my stuff and moved down the car to an available seat next to a sleeping fat man. Not the sort of seat one usually chooses, but better than none. Within a minute or so, we arrived at the next stop and people got on. A man, absorbed in his paper, sat where I had been sitting. We, the still seated, and in the know, glanced at each other conspiratorially, smiled and awaited events.

Leo, that was not terribly clear. I would like to know you meant. I truly would like to know. I do not see that the vendor was disgusting. The closest thing to something disgusting in the story was the narrator’s irresolution. I never said the story was funny, but fun and charming.

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