When I encounter people that I consider creepy on the train, especially the ones that attempt to talk to me, I really try not to be rude (at least to their face. Because then I end up going and writing about them, which I suppose could be construed as a rude act). In recent days, this has been difficult. When someone sticks out their hand for a handshake, though you really don’t want to shake it, what exactly do you do? Hand shaking is an important part of our culture of meeting people. Articles get written about how people perceive you based on how firm your handshake is. So really, what do you do? If you don’t shake it, you’re just an asshole. And so, in an effort to not be an asshole, I reluctantly shake their hand. And they prolong it as much as possible. And I wonder when the hell I am going to get my hand back. So thus, I am now armed with this:
This morning was one of those times. There is a man at Goldens Bridge I see every once and a while. He always carries a bag, and he never walks properly, he always scuffs his feet on the ground. He reminds me significantly of a friend of my father’s, which may be the only reason why I end up talking to him each time. He very well could be the long lost brother that was dropped on his head as a baby of my father’s friend. Last week I saw him and he did the handshake thing. Oh and he prolonged it as much as possible. But I think you’d also be considered an asshole if you asked for your hand back. Anyways, today we had a conversation on the platform, it went something like this (He’s in bold):
“Hello, how are you?”
“I got a new jacket”
He then proceeded to stroke the sleeve of the new jacket. At that point, he was about to walk away, but something brought him back.
“So where is your laptop? You don’t have your laptop today?”
“Oh I have it, it is in my bag.”
“So where do you work in White Plains?”
“Oh nice!” At this point he sounded very impressed.
“Let me guess, you file papers there?”
Wait… what? I file papers? That is so wrong. Are you saying that because I am female? Because I look young? Shit. At this point the train is coming, and so I get on. And he disappeared in the crowd of people. I’ll see him again, I know I will. I just hope the next encounter will not be quite as awkward.