The Radio Repair Man, and Public Transportation Etiquette

I think it is an unwritten rule of public transportation etiquette that when there are a lot of empty seats on the train/bus/whatever, you don’t sit right next to another passenger. Let me just say, a guy I saw on the train one evening was apparently unaware of this rule. By the time the train gets to Chappaqua, most of the passengers have already left, and the cars may have about two to three people in them, max.

In my train car, there was only one other guy. At Chappaqua, another man entered the train. From this point on I will refer to him as Bob. Bob decides to sit right next to the other man. After a few moments of awkward silence, Bob pipes up, “I repair radios. What do you do?” The other man appears to be rather dumbfounded, “Is he talking to me??” he thinks. So Bob repeats, “I repair radios. What do you do?”

If the silence was awkward, this was definitely even more so. The man began answering Bob’s questions, with what he told me later were completely fabricated answers. Then Bob wanted to know where the man lived, and where he grew up. Again, he was given fabricated answers.

As we approached Mount Kisco station, Bob asked the man if he knew anything about computers. The man said he did not. Bob abruptly rose from the seat and prepared to disembark, telling the man something along the lines of, “Oh, I don’t think we’ll talk again. If you knew about computers, I might have wanted to talk with you again. But you don’t.” And then, when the doors opened, Bob left.

I like to refer to this man as Bob, recalling a previous visit to Mount Kisco, though not by train. It had to have been at least five years ago, on the way home to Connecticut I stopped at the Burger King in Mount Kisco for a quick meal. In the parking lot there was a car completely filled in every place but the driver seat with fast food trash. Inside the Burger King we saw the man that owned the car: filling a two liter soda bottle in the self serve soda fountain, and then washing his hands in the soda. Needless to say, it was a memorable bit of amusement every time we were to pass through Mount Kisco.

Fast forward to about a year ago. My family again stopped at the Burger King in Mount Kisco, and my dad thought it would be amusing to ask if the man “who washes his hands in the soda” still comes around. Apparently he is well known at the establishment, and a worker told my father his name was Bob. I like to think that this man is the one I did in fact see on the train.

I may never know for sure.