Monday, July 12, 2010

snapshots from today

three conversations today still have me laughing:

1) i'm sitting in the jefferson memorial, reading "the american scholar" (i know, my life is out of a movie right now), when this family sits down beside me. despite the "please be quiet" signs around the monument, they enlist in an animated half-hour conversation about which metro stop is closest. the dad sends the oldest boy (15 yrs. old?) off because he keeps chiming in with his opinions (i empathized with the kid here...teenagehood can be rough for the oldest, because we really do know everything), and then the boy comes back and decides to talk to me. the conversation goes like this:

him: "wow, family vacations huh. i mean, they're called vacations so we're supposed to relax but instead it's so stressful because everything has to be planned out."
me: "yeah, i'm the oldest of seven kids...our family vacations can be pretty crazy too."
him: "so my dad makes this special kind of coffee, it's like cappuccino, but it's different. you know? cappuccino? yeah, it's different. my dad makes it. so i have this business plan with my brother, see, and we're gonna make the cappuccino--we'll call it something different, obviously--and sell it here instead of lemonade. you think that's a good idea? to sell cappuccino? it's my dad's recipe."
at which point the little sister comes up behind him and put bunny ears on him.
him: "this is my little sister who never stops talking or bugging me."
at which point the little sister takes off her hat and puts it over his face.
at which point the boy is trying to swat her away, all the while explaining to me this different kind of cappuccino, while the sister is all the while inventing more ways to get in between her brother's diatribe on coffees and his new-found audience-of-one.
the family gets up to leave, pulling the little sister away, and he reluctantly stands up...
him: yeah, washington dc is great for politics. i like politics a lot, read a lot about them, but really economics are my thing.
all the while he's walking backwards away from me out of the monument
him: yeah, i'm fascinated by economics. ECONOMICS ARE WHAT I WANT TO DO!
this last statement he all but yells, as he is already on the other side of the monument, still facing me, still carrying on the brain-to-mouth monologue.
me: laughing uncontrollably.

wouldn't it be great if we could all talk to strangers like he did? just open our mouths and let spill our every thought? sitting next to a man on the subway, him holding an iphone, me holding "heart of darkness", both of us looking forward, neither of us iphone-ing or reading, i think about this. we wanted to talk, but neither could think of what to say. so we sat in silence and never met.

2) approaching the metro to ride home for the evening, i met a man at the elevator. swearing up a storm about how the escalators were broken (heaven forbid we use them as stairs), he welcomes me onto the elevator.

him: "you know what i firmly believe? they stop the escalators on PURPOSE. to make us think they really are low on budget. they keep raising fares, keep raising fares, and then so we actually believe their lies about "not having funds", they put out the escalators and don't repair them, so we believe they have to raise fares to keep the place running. i firmly believe that. you work in department of ag?"

3) and finally, walking home, i get passed by a two-year old chinese boy, running as fast as he can for the intersection, his dad chasing behind. once they're across the intersection, the boy takes off again. he finds a stump--no, an elevated manhole cover--in the grass, climbs up on it, and starts doing karate moves. walking past, i hear, "you wanna learn kung FU?!! hiii-YAAAA!"

i giggled all the way home.


  1. ok Carolyn, I am not gonna lie- I am kind of in love with your life right now! Please don't ever stop posting these wonderful stories so that I can continue to read them from my boring office job in Provo :) Miss you though!