It turns out that all throughout this morning’s commute, I wore a Trader Joe’s PLU sticker on my back without knowing it.
It most likely latched itself on as I walked through the store’s aisles last night in search of weekly goods. I bought bananas, a salad, and oatmilk, but no sweet potatoes.
Yet the sticker made its way over.
She rode with me on the train, packing in tightly to let passengers in. She saw, maybe even for the first time, the streets of Downtown Boston during rush hour.
We walked together up Bromfield Street, stopping to glance at fountain pens in the pen shop’s window. We wondered how much each of them cost, knowing full well neither of us could afford them.
We took the long way to work, crossing paths with an old friend and choosing to stay just one minute longer out in the sun. We then made it inside.
It wasn’t until I took off my sweater in order to hang it that I finally noticed she was there. No one had stopped me to point her out. Yet, having lived through this morning together, I’m glad no one did.
I’m off to California in two days and can’t help but listen to the music that reminds me of home. The song on repeat this morning was “Paso del Norte” by La Original Banda El Limón De Salvador Lizárraga.
The tuba, the trombone, the tambora and timbales all come together in an expression of joy Mexicans call tamborazo. I used to despise banda, but something about it now enlivens me to the point of giddiness. I know it’s because it reminds me of my dad.
Since what I listen to reflects what I’m feeling, this song definitely encapsulates my excitement. I’m ready to be in California and see my parents once again.
Just a seat away from me, I noticed a woman silently reading a copy of The New Yorker on the train. I, in turn, opened up my backpack and pulled out my own copy featuring this week’s cartoon caption contest.
I looked over at her and hesitated. “Do I ask her?” I asked myself.
In the moment’s silence, I decided to go for it. “Excuse me?” I interrupted, “Can I get your opinion on something? What do you think of these cartoon captions?”
She laughed and replied, “Oh, so you’re the person who does these!”
I laughed and went on to show her what I had come up with. Many of them were standard, like the mention of regret or forgetting to pick up clothes from the cleaners.
But the two that I liked the most were about the dog in the background and the mention of the man’s socks.
She pointed out that, although the one about the dog was funny, the sock caption made more sense since the woman seems to be reacting to something the man is saying.
“His level of cluelessness,” she said and broke out in laughter. I couldn’t help but join her.
She was right. The man pointing out his socks as opposed to the rest of his wardrobe made it all the more humorous.