I sat on the A train on my way home hoping no one would get up and say something in the time it took me to get home.
And then I heard the words of a man who was clearly sick and losing his voice tell everyone that he was going to sing a song. While he didn’t sound that bad and as a homeless person who didn’t just beg I understood why people would want to help him. I was happy he only sang one song and moved on to another train.
But just as soon as I rested my head on the window another man stood up and told us how black and white people need to work together in the spirit of MLK day. I think he would have spoken for longer but when he took a long pause another man got up to talk about how people always get up on the train and start talking about whatever they feel like talking about. He went on to speak about his family and how children were the most precious things in life.
And still I had not reached my stop before the teenagers got on the train and began to dance in the middle of the train. They were not very good but they got my dollar because it was the first time I’d seen a dance group with a female member.
All this made me think – what is the value of the one sided conversation?
On the train the people speaking are basically holding the passengers hostage but author to reader is the ultimate one sided conversation. It is quite powerful when you can share something with someone you’ve never met and they actually enjoy it. The people on the train are like live pop up Facebook posts by people you would probably never be friends with. But it’s something to talk about.