Friday, July 07, 2006

Do ants introduce themselves?

This morning I awoke from my Manhattan-bound slumber to find that a coworker of mine was sitting directly across from me on the subway. I use the term “coworker” loosely...this particular person doesn’t even work on my floor and I’ve never actually worked with him, but I’ve noticed him because he’s under 30. He’s also a casual dresser like myself, and looks nice enough. And I think might be the gay temp who periodically auditions for TV shows.

Although we were three feet away from each other I didn’t say a word, then got off the subway and took a different route than him (there are two routes to my office from the F train, either up 16th Street or up 17th Street. I’ve noticed people tend to religiously stick to one path or the other; I myself choose 16th because there are two really good dark windows I can check my hair in on the way). Then, of course, we met in the lobby of our building, waiting for the elevator. I felt like I should say something, like, “oh, you take the F train too,” or “how long were you watching me sleep?” or “I see you are a casually dressed 20-something like myself.”

But what’s worse? That fake familiarity where we have to spend however long making chit-chat just because we don’t want to admit to ourselves that we live in close proximity to people we don’t know (or care about), or just not mentioning the obvious at all? Personally, I treasure each moment I don’t have to talk to anyone in the morning, and prefer to not speak until I’m at my desk, promptly at 10:05.

We both got on the elevator. I hit my floor, then mumbled, “you’re 7, right?” and hit his button, too. “Thanks,” he said, quite nicely, and I think that’s really all the connection we needed to make.

1 comment:

Evie Garland said...

Update: One day we got on the elevator silently, and a bunch of suited men entered with us. They were laughing really loud and being general too exuberant for a morning elevator. When they got off, my companion turned to me, shaking his head, and said, "Vendors." We've been best elevator buddies ever since.