Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Riding the rails

July 27th -- on the blue line to Gresham (temporarily, for a trip over the bridge)

A man wearing long sleeves is selling candy bars for 20 cents. It's 98 degrees outside and not much cooler on the train.

"Spare 20 cents ma'am?" he asks, holding out the box of chocolate. The girl sitting next to me hands him 50 cents.

"But I don't want any candy," she says. ""It's too hot to eat that stuff."

"Gummy bears?" he asks, prying out a hidden bag.

She's wearing a tank top with a too-short jean skirt that reveals writing on her leg. "I <3 MEGAN 4EVR." There's a pack of cigarettes balancing on her knee.

"No, it's too hot, too sweet," she says, louder.

He walks off. "It's too hot," he murmurs to himself. He puts the candy in a backpack. "Too hot."

He picks up a plastic cup of ice water and rubs it all over his head, which is buzzed short. "I wish I could cool down. I wish I could cool down," he says.

At the next stop, he gets off. People outside are advertising free hugs, but no one is taking them.

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