Sunday, December 18, 2005

Reach out and touch someone

One of my (hundreds of) public transportation pet peeves is people blabbing on their cell phones and interrupting my peaceful commute. Most days I crank up my iPod and bury myself behind a RedEye and, when I'm finished reading the interesting things (namely, the back page and "Nine Lines," which is a direct rip-off of Entertainment Weekly's Hit List written — poorly — by a Medill alum), I snuggle up under my scarf and attempt to block out the sounds of sniffles and coughs.

Lately, though, I've been forgoing my iPod and my reading and my head-burying altogether. It's the holidays, after all, so to get into the spirit (and in an attempt to strengthen my torrid relationship with public transportation) I've begun casually eavesdropping on peoples' spirited Christmastime phone calls. It's an anthropological study, really, and I've found the semi-public interactions of commuters with their relatives to be much more entertaining than anything I could download for 99 cents on iTunes. Or, you know, steal from Limewire.

And so, in the spirit of Christmas, a sampling:

"... No, I don't think it's a coincidence, Marissa. I don't think it's a coincidence that Mom and Dad got you and April iPods and me a candle... I don't care if you bought your present yourself. You couldn't have picked one up for me, too? That candle had a cat on it, Marissa... Yeah, I don't know. Mom always wants to buy me jewelery. Everytime I do something it's like, 'Let me buy you pearls!' Where am I gonna wear pearls?... Yeah, I guess we could all go in and get them something together, but I'm not chipping in as much as... I don't know. What do they need? Sanity?..."

"...doing Christmas Eve at our place and spending Christmas morning with his parents... Oh, God no! Judy still doesn't get that we're vegetarians. We have reservations..."

"...Yes, Mom... Yes, I think he's going to bring her. They're married... Yes, I saw what she wore to Thanksgiving... Well she is a trophy wi-... No, you can't ask him not to bring her... Because!... Well, get it out of your system now. You can say it to me, but don't say anything in front of her... Why not? Because you mean it. You're going to get yourself into trouble... I'm serious. Just... well just get it out of your system now..."

"... He's so cute! You're sure he's gay?... Well, you should work on that... You 'don't think so'?... Well, fine. I guess there's nothing better than a gay friend... You could just tell everyone he's your boyfriend. He's so cute!... Why not? You know your Aunt Jill is going to ask. She always asks. She doesn't have to know he's gay... Well, I still say you should work on it...It's not like Mr. Jerkface is ever going to call..."

Happy holidays everyone!