Yes, I peer at phones.
I peer and prod, sometimes under the pretext of whatever form of journalism I imagine this site to be, sometimes just because I get bored on the train but reading makes me motion-sick.
So I peer over shoulders, watch people swipe through Pinterests of shoes or scroll past images of friends both real and Facebook. Or, in the case of the shortish woman with the dark curly hair and the tam-style winter cap, the text exchange she was having with an unnamed someone.
She was angry and sniffly, vexed look on her face as she shot perplexed, suspicious and nasty looks around the car.
I knew who she and the unnamed were texting about.
“Make Germany great again was something he said,” a block of green appeared on her phone to say.
The woman with the face turned away from me hesitated for a moment, then tapped out a message with her thumbs.
“I love you, you know,” she texted from the train.
I hadn’t expected it, nor had the block of green. Their pace was broken. The block of green took a few more seconds than had been the rhythm to text “I love you too dear.”
They texted more, and yes I peered. The world is the oyster of the person who doesn’t spend train rides shoving internet up his eyeholes.
“My tolerance for people is at an all-time low,” she didn’t text because now I’m worried an accurate transcription could clue her in that I was snooping on the off off off chance she’s a reader, so I put something similar just there to get the message across.
“But you always make me smile,” she did text, word for word.
I glanced away, now shameful of my snoop. An interracial teen couple who could not keep their eyes off each other laughed at nothing, just shy little jokes and giggles at odd moments. The train lurched and the she of the couple grabbed the he’s jacket sleeve for balance. Once the train righted, she left her hand there, just to touch his arm.
Behind them, a middle-aged woman nudged to ask if she could get by. She wore the pink pussyhat from the Women’s March over the weekend. It’s now her hat, her daily protest. Her affirmation love for the world doesn’t need to be romantic.
No matter what the Beatles trill, love isn’t all you need. Sometimes it’s just all you have.
It’s a base to build from, not a stopping point at all. Telling the world it’s OK to cede the nation to a goblin because love, rainbows and puppy dogs still exist is a form of privilege that borders on violence in my mind.
Apathy will always be the enemy, even if it’s the happy apathy the truly loved feel for all else.
But we build off that base because this world is worth it, even if the man in charge isn’t. And we hope if we’re hopeful types, we pray if we’re prayerful and we work our asses off doing real, tangible things because hopes and prayers will get you a 50-50 balance of jack and squat.
We have to notice the good that sneaks by. We have to notice the unnoticed because otherwise we’ll forget what it is we’re fighting for.