Tuesday, September 23, 2003

On the subway on the way back home there were puddles of water in the shallow dips of two caddy-corner seats, trails of droplets over the seats adjacent. Although some seats were mostly dry I decided not to sit; neither did others who got on after me. They'd make a move to one of the seats, see it, pause, think, turn away. Then a man leaning on one of the poles suddenly examined his sleeves with puzzlement and dismay. The surface of the pole was smeared with what appeared to be raspberry jam. Others glanced at him, offering a fraction of a second of mute sympathy, of solemn deference to the stricken before hiding again in their papers and books. I looked at the other pole and it too had been lashed with the mysterious sticky matter.