|Fig. 1. Weird Boots|
This enigma aside, there is one passenger who gets on the train who cannot escape anyone’s attention. He is older, probably somewhere between, say 55 and 100. His tall, burly, Paul Bunyan physique is accented by a fluffy gray beard, a half smoked cigar hanging out of his mouth that he CHEWS all the way to the city, and—the icing on the cake—tall, knee-high funky black boots (see Fig. 1). The boots are what catch my attention every single day. If you only focused on them, you’d think (Punk Rocker? Goth? Motorcycle Mamma? Oktoberfest Partaker? Sadomasochist? Shit Shoveller?) until you look up and see that they are attached to Santa Claus with a bad cigar habit.
Weird Boots gets on the same car as me and immediately gravitates towards the card players like a fly to feces. He leans on the back of the six-seater they occupy and bends down, flagrantly invading their personal space. At first I thought he was part of the group—the silent observer, who, for lack of a seat, participates from above. But over the weeks, I’ve noticed he’s not. He is just a random guy, with weird boots, resting his cigar on the island pattern bald guy dealing the cards, watching every move they make like Big Brother watches all of us. When the train pulls in, he immediately exits without so much as a goodbye. The group in turn never greets his omnipresence with hello, goodbye, or what the feck are you looking at?!
Who is he readers? Only time will tell. For now I will continue to silently observe him as he silently observes them, while snapping secret photos of his boots (can I get a pair somewhere?) as I pretend to text my BFF in Spain.