Thursday, December 17, 2009

Observing Strangers

The ninth grade English homework was to observe and write about a stranger.
I am not in the ninth grade English class, but it must have been an "exciting" assignment because I heard about it all day.

I am always observing strangers. I would like to say its because I fancy myself a writer, an astute observer of the human condition. My mother (and then curiously my children as if advice and the need to keep me in line can be passed on genetically) would say that I am a yenta, the Yiddish word for one who can not mind their own business.

Also I ride crowded city buses. This affords me lots of time to observe strangers.
Tuesday night was the winter concert. With half a century of winter concert going as a performer, parent and educator I am the one in our building who thinks about the need to get the music teacher a bunch of flowers. There are no flower sellers by the school (that I know of any how) so I jumped on the bus to the subway- where the flower shop is tucked in a nook behind the stairs.

With a large bouquet of flowers I took the bus back to school, accompanied by many, many people who were heading home as the winter night was fully dark at 5:30. In front of me were four pretty young women returning from dance practice at the Catholic High School. How do I know it was dance practice?

They danced the whole trip. They practiced their, moves critiqued each other's styles and checked rhythms and counts. All on a very crowded bus and one that lurched forward and backward at every stop light. They apologized to me for the inconvenience.

"On the contrary," I replied. "You have provided quality entertainment on a boring trip."

How did I know they were from the Catholic High School?

I asked.
I already told you I am a yenta.

Time to go to school. More about the winter concert later.

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