Saturday, December 8, 2012

Seven Letter Stranger

The underground, New York City me is a jaded straphanger who rarely makes conversation or even eye contact with my fellow subway riders.  
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.  

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