Day-time subway interactions between me and others usually aren’t noteworthy (random momentary glances, shuffling for space when there is none, shared exasperation at the piece of shit who doesn’t realize the automated voice is telling him to stand clear of the closing doors). Then there are stand-out moments. These moments usually include hermaphrodites kindly asking if you’d like to see their penis (thank you, JMZ), uncomfortable stains everyone avoids, outspoken phone conversations or just general shared what-the-fuck instances. Sometimes, though, it’s much more subtle.
This particular ride starts uneventfully. I wait for the jumble of bodies to order itself between exiting and entering without taking part in the awkward tango myself. I find a seat in the middle of the bench between a tired elderly man and a pretty girl with a bored look on her face. When I sit, both of them continued their vigil on the opposite wall uninterrupted. After a few stops I notice the attractive girl giving me lingering looks from my right. While I was congratulating myself on choosing unstained clothing that morning, the smell hit me. Someone had farted.
I looked to see the people opposite giving me disappointed glances; even the old man seemed unimpressed. Immediately I was offended for being automatically singled out. Why me specifically? The old codger to my left could have done it without hesitation. Then the earlier glances from my right made sense; plausible deniability. When searching for the flatulent culprit of course they would side with a good looking girl who’d seemingly found the source. I rode the remainder of the commute in brooding silence, resolute in my undeniable defeat. As the true criminal left the car, though, I could swear I saw a lingering smirk smeared across her face.