When I first moved here I loved people watching while commuting. I surreptitiously studied those who sat across from me, read books and magazines over their shoulders, and shamelessly eavesdropped on "private" conversations.
Over time, however, I stopped paying attention to the details of my world. As a teacher, I would grade papers while squished between sleepy travelers, and when I had no deadlines to meet I think I just daydreamed.
But now? Now I have Scrabble. With a hunched back and a furrowed brow, I lean over my iPhone, compete with my computer foe (he calls himself CPU and I swear he makes up words), and I shut out the rest of the world. If Johnny Depp sat next to me these days, I wouldn't notice him.
But, as it turns out, those people I used to study are peeping over my shoulder and reading my words. While waiting for the 2 train at the 14th St. station last week, I was startled when a woman who looked a lot like Eryka Badu leaned into my left ear and said, "reverie".
Actually, she said it twice. I ignored her the first time.
"Reverie," she said.
"I don't have a 'y'" I responded as I searched the screen for a letter I may have overlooked. "You can spell it with an 'ie'. It's a seven letter word. I play a lot of Scrabble." She pointed to the place on my virtual board where I needed to arrange my letters. As she stood up and gathered her things she admitted, "It's embarrassing, but I do play it a lot. It's kind of an addiction."
And as Eryka's doppelganger boarded the downtown 1 train I crushed CPU with one, fanciful move.
I don't need Words with Friends, I've got New York City.