Bourgeois Deviant

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Over the weekend 2

Electric hoobajoob.

Well, not really.

Catching the train back from having beers my betrothed buddy, I found the train car unusually full for the late hour. All the same, I found a three seater to myself and settled in for the ride. Just as the conductor gave the last call for all aboard, a middle aged fellow stumbles in and pops down in the aisle seat after politely asking and me granting permission for him to take the seat. He appeared exhausted and a little disheveled. He didn't smell of alcohol (but I might have), so I wasn't too bothered one way or the other.

The guy opens his canvas briefcase and pulls out a bunch of news papers. He rifles through a couple of the local rags. I don't pay much attention. A New Yorker article is holding my interest and almost keeping me awake and then I notice that my fellow traveler is reading the Washington Post. Its not that someone reading the Post in and of itself is strange. Seeing the paper on the NJT is like seeing a Clinton poster at an Obama rally.

Being post beer buzz but still relaxed, I had to ask why he was reading the Post. He replied that he was a newspaper guy. Brevity being the soul of wit, I'll just try and re-create the dialogue.

Traveler: I'm a newspaper guy.
BD: Oh yeah? What rag?
News Paper Guy (NPG): The Times.
BD: The New York Times?
NPG: Yeah.
BD: What do you do?
NPG: I'm an editor for the sports section.
BD: Really? Nice! Good section. Never short of material.
NPG: Right.
NPG: What news paper do you read.
BD: I read the Times. Online mostly. Love it.
NPG: Oh good! Sports?
BD: Not so much. Though, when I do feel the need to know, the Times sorts me out.
NPG: Well, good. I guess. [half giggle]
BD: Not to offend, but in the spirit of constructive criticism... I have a friend of the family who is a big Browns and Indians fan. When she visits us, she insists on getting USA Today. Says your section stinks.
NPG: Well, you can't please everyone. [beat] And its the Browns and Indians. C'mon!
BD: Right? [forced giggle]
NPG: Uh, pardon me, but I kinda have to read the paper now.
BD: No problem. No problem at all. You're nice to talk to me. Enjoy.

-about five minutes pass-

NPG: Say, what did you think of our endorsements?
BD: Uh, not surprising? I didn't really agree with them, but they weren't offensive either.
NPG: Just curious.
BD: Sure.
BD: Did you agree with them? Hillary and McCain?
NPG: No. No. There was a lot of back and forth before the endorsement came out. I mean, it makes sense since she's our state senator and all. But, if you were to take a vote of all the staff for the paper, I think Obama would win. Hands down.
BD: Really! So, it sounds like it was sort of a top down kind of decision?
NPG: Yeah. You could say that. People support her, but the guys at the top made a political decision. It was theirs to make, I guess.
BD: So, a lot of people don't agree with Krugman?
NPG: Not really. I wouldn't say he's popular in the office right now.
BD: Sure.
NPG: And McCain... I rode in an elevator with him a few months back. The guy just looks old. Old! And, you know, he can't raise his arms past here [raises left elbow approximately 90 degrees from his hip]
BD: Really? I've noticed his arms seem kind of, well, restricted.
NPG: Yeah. I know he looks different on TV, but in person... Wow.
BD: So, is it the kind of thing that we might see a picture in the paper one day like the one taken of Dole when he fell?
NPG: [nodding] I wouldn't be surprised.
BD: Neither would I. I guess. But at least he pisses the majority of the Republican establishment off. That, at least, will keep the race interesting.
NPG: [nodding] Yeah. We can hope.
NPG: Gonna read. [motions to paper]
BD: No problem.

-another two minutes pass-

Train Conductor over the loudspeaker: Now arriving at Bay Street. Bay Street. This is Bay Street. Bay Street.

- train begins to move-

BD: Next stop's mine.
NPG: Yeah? You live in College Suburbville?
BD: Not quite. Suburbia. So practically.
NPG: Right. How long?
BD: Just moved over from Brooklyn in September. How long have you been doing this commute?
NPG: A while. We have twin ten-year-old girls. Moved from the City for them.
BD: Wow! I bet you've got your hands full. Identical?
NPG: Yeah. But they're good kids. Fraternal. Really smart, but in very different ways. One's organized and methodical. The other's sort of scattered but picks stuff up really quickly. They balance each other out. How 'bout you?
BD: Just one. For now. Maybe. 18 months old. A handfull. We kinda moved out here for him too. Now he's running all over creation, making as much noise as possible. Trying to talk.

Train Conductor over the loudspeaker: Now arriving at Walnut Street. Walnut Street. This is Walnut Street. Walnut Street.

BD: Ok. Have a good night. Good luck with everything.
NPG: Yeah. Thanks. You too.
BD: Thanks. And thanks for talking to me. I know how busy you guys are, so that was nice of you. Have a good night. See you around. Maybe.
NPG: Yeah. See you around.


Moral of the story: Don't proffer constructive criticism to anyone after you've been drinking.

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  • GREAT story! (and you mentioned me for the second day in a ROW! I'm truly honored).

    Good to hear that about the New York Times staff and the top-down political decision-making. You were right!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 11:11:00 AM  

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