“Why are we talking? Um, is it because you wanted to meet me?”
I got in this odd little confrontation on the subway this morning. It’s hard to even call it an argument, because neither of us seemed to want to admit the issue at hand or that both of us were really kind of being dicks. Here’s how it went down: I got on the subway and moved toward the middle of the car, where this guy was leaning against one of the poles, reading a newspaper. Leaning flush against the pole and hogging it is selfish, as it makes it hard for anyone else to hold on to it, but I wedged my hand in there between the pole and his back and grabbed on it nevertheless. He pushed back hard against my hand, trying to dislodge it, but I held fast. He turned and glared at me in naked irritation. I looked back innocently.
Guy: Excuse me?*
Guy: What’s the problem?
Me: Is there a problem?
Guy: You tell me.
Me: I don’t think so.
Guy: Then why are we talking?
Me: Because you started talking to me.
Guy: No, you started talking to me.
Me: I really don’t think so.
Guy: Yes, you said, “Yes?”
Me: That was after you said, “Excuse me?”
Guy: No, it wasn’t.
Me: Well, would you agree you’d like to end this conversation now?
Me: Okay. Have a good day.
Guy: [irritated glare]
Me: [staring straight ahead, hand on pole]
* Apologies for all the italics, but that’s how this guy talked—emphatically diagonal, the same way he was leaning slanted against the pole, in fact.
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