I had one of those experiences today that reminds me why it is so great to live in a large city with public transportation. Have you ever experienced that moment with a stranger where you know you are thinking the exact same thing in that moment? Or that you are reacting to something that just occurred or was said, and when you meet the eyes of someone nearby you share that feeling? Frequently, when riding the public transportation system in a large city, riders are either trying not to meet someone’s gaze or trying to hide the fact that they were staring. But occasionally, you welcome that moment of connection.
I was riding the train (CTA) and a man made one of those disgusting sounds that only men can make with their throats. It was disturbing to hear since you were within breathing distance of whatever air & liquid came out with that very “productive” hack. The train was fairly full but only four of us seemed to notice this disgusting display. We were all women. Individually, we all tuned our faces up in disgust and even noticeably shrugged in our shoulders as if to shield ourselves from whatever germ matter may have come our way somehow through the recycled air system on the train. It was the point where we all noticed each other that made that moment. That moment where you meet someone’s eyes and know exactly what they are thinking and share it silently. We simultaneously looked from one to the other and now our disgust was amusement that we had all reacted the same way, and that the others around us, men including my son, seemed oblivious to the hack. We silently chuckled, randomly meeting each other’s eyes from one to the other, each of us occasionally glancing in the offenders’ direction. I guess we were looking to see if he noticed that we were grossed out by him, or that we were laughing or for me, did he grab a handkerchief to catch whatever small animal came out the next time. Nothing. He continued to lean on the window, resting, never noticing that he had fully grossed out four women but created a moment of camaraderie. The four of us represented an assortment of racial backgrounds but in that moment we were just women. The CTA is the best public transportation system and I love Chicago for having it. This is just one of the reasons why.
Windy City Diva