Yesterday afternoon’s entertainment started long before we ever reached New York to see “The Book of Mormon.” As is so often the case, the train ride there and back provided good people-watching and “shake my head” moments.
We lucked out going in, and got to ride in one of the new trains. But even the intact seats and crystal-clear windows, lack of fossilized gum or sticky beverage stains, didn’t ease the pain of a local’s worth of stops listening to the toddler girl who was having a bad day.
I don’t know if it was nap time or lunch time, or if she maybe she was ill, but I confess (sorry, God) that as the miles clacked away, they took my patience along for the ride. No amount of cuddles and kisses, crackers or jokes soothed this poor young thing. And her parents tried. They really did. The silence they left in their wake upon alighting in Pelham was deafening.
Fortunately, there was a distraction across the aisle: A well-dressed woman who got on in Rye and put her tote bag on the seat next to her. A few stops later, a businessman asked to sit there and when she moved the bag, the seat was soaking wet. She made no move to dry it. He looked down an extra beat too long; said, “No thanks”; and moved down the aisle, still looking for a place to take a load off. As he left, Rye lady just picked up the wet-bottomed bag and put it back on the seat.
Coming back home on the same train I used to ride when I commuted to New York, I saw many of the same exhausted commuters, still going through the motions two years later.
And listened for quite some time to an idiot who was trying to get his bank to help him unravel the mystery of a bunch of missing checks. As a matter of fact, we ALL listened to his banking woes. We had no choice.
My favorite person to watch throughout the day, however, has to be the elderly lady who sat next to me in the theater. She was there to see the show with her son and his partner. They sat in the row in front of us, and before we could offer to switch seats, the rows filled up and the lights went down.
I don’t know the lady’s name, but she was a lady, hair and nails done. She wore several cocktail rings, chunky gold earrings, and a pair of heavy, dark-framed eyeglasses contrasting against the champagne-blonde of her page-boy hairdo. She walked with the help of a cane, stopping to exchange hugs and kisses with her son and his partner. And once in her seat, she set to work: Applying hand lotion, removing her hearing aids from their special case and putting them on before the curtain went up.
She loved the show — laughed long and hard at all the rude and crude humor on stage.
She was hot stuff.