Wednesday, March 24, 2004

On the train in the café car the man looked like William H. Macy, those little beady eyes below the thick blonde brow in the creased, genial face. The thin lips around a wide, vaguely vulnerable mouth.

"What'll it be?" he asked genially.

I said I didn't know yet sorry. He helped the woman behind me as I continued to gaze upon the different-colored menus with the pictures of chips and nuts and beer.

"Have you decided yet?"

"I, well…"


That was exactly what I wanted. "You… Yes! That was uh, good."

He turned and got it as though it was nothing. Later I returned for more and he seemed to be in a trance, leaning against the inside of the side counter, arms folded. I waited.

"I, sorry, I must have…"


I ordered, paid, tipped. As I walked away I heard the transaction behind me: a woman ordered a cup of coffee.

"Nice!" he exclaimed ridiculously.

It occurred to me that perhaps he was some sort of modern mythic figure, heroically guarding his spirits against soul-killing tedium. A whistling Sisyphus.