Last week I was on the train to work
and a man, a woman my age and a young woman sat next to me.
They were chit chatting about work- which I believe involved insurance- so I tuned them out and dove into my book Gwendy’s Box by Stephen King. I love Stephen King and the dialogue in this book really had a great rhythm to it so I was engrossed and then the young woman got giggly and animated.
In a rah, rah cheerleader voice she said,
” I saw the HR person come into the meeting room and I knew she wasn’t supposed to be at this meeting so I told ( name of person ) who was sitting next to me that either someone died or someone was going to get fired. Well I guessed right, you know that guy that sits behind us ( name of department they work in )? Well . He died. I was right. I mean, I totally nailed it. He died over the weekend.”
She was positively giddy- look at me I am SO smart she announced to everyone sitting around her.
I looked up from my book and I’m not sure what the expression on my face said, but the woman my age looked at me and said ” Oh wow, that’s too bad. I mean that’s really sad news.”
The man in the group tossed out a random factoid ( I suppose he was trying to change the subject or shut her up ) about meetings where people had to take a test, if you provide them with water and snacks they relax because we are wired to feel secure if our basic need for things like food are met.
I wanted to ask if their stress levels changed when you closed the door, but really I did not want to take part in the freak show that was happening right in front and right beside me.
So, I put my book back up to my face and I thought, ” you know Stephen King, I think Little Miss Commuter has at least three of your weirdest characters beat- Trash Can Man from ” The Stand “, the lady who wore Elvis’ shades in ” Needful Things ” and Grady from ” The Shining”
I was relieved when they got off a few more stops down the line and when they did I got up and changed seats.
I guess in that space, on that train I saw humanity hit a new low and I wanted to get as far away from that spot as I could.