Monday, October 29, 2007


The man settles down in the seat across from me, oblivious or unmindful of our hostile glares. There are several seats available, so it is unclear why he chose this one. Placing his light-mauve backpack on his lap, he pulls out a foil-wrapped sub and eats it furtively, biting off mouthful after mouthful. The lingering smell of his BLT sickens my aleady travel-sick friend. She rolls her eyes violently in his direction and pointedly drinks Pepto Bismol. He dabs at his mouth effiminately, trying to catch any stray crumbs. Why doesn't he just take care of this with one manly swipe of a sleeve across his mouth? That's unlikely to happen - he is too fussily dressed for that.

He wears a caramel corduroy jacket, a striped shirt and an oddly bight, mustard tie with a hideous, self-coloured floral print. His pants are check flannels and look like pyjamas.He leafs through the complimentary tourist magazine supplied by Eurostar. He looks just like the kind of person who wouldn't carry something of his own to read.

I look out of the window as we cross an apartment complex and I see a woman dying her clothes on her balcony, the only one in the building to do so. Loking more closely, I see that the turquoise blue polyester garments hung over the balcony are a salwar kurta and the woman is Indian.

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