Saturday, January 22, 2011

Repost: A Silent Laugh with Strangers

Perhaps it's too soon to be reposting, but as a tribute to appreciating the small things in life, I'm doing it anyway.

Originally posted November 21, 2009.

A quick note to the reader ... all dialog in this post in merely my impression of what was said. The metro is noisy and my Russian is not THAT good.

Usually, everyone in the Moscow metro wears their serious, worn out, or sad faces. They look through each other. They scrutinize the way others are dressed, and they definitely DON'T talk to strangers.

But tonight was different.

In a good mood and feeling confident and a little talkative, I got on the metro with a sparkle in my eye. I watched others get on, and I noticed a group of three people who sat down across from me - a couple and their friend.

After the train left the station, the woman asked for a piece of gum. Her boyfriend didn't have any, so the friend looked in his bag and pulled out a piece. It was a little crumpled, yet overall, it looked all right.

The girl took it and stared at it like it was something alien, "What is this? What's wrong with it? Why is it all crumpled up?" she accusingly asked the friend.

He sort of shrugged in response. As if to say, "What's the big deal?"

Rather than refusing it, she opened the wrapper, shrugged in about the same way, and stuck the gum in her mouth.

In this midst of this, I couldn't help thinking about a parallel situation from high school. A good friend of mine often had "random snacks" in her sweater pockets and would offer them to people, regardless of the state. Maybe you'd like a Sour Patch Kid? or a saltine? Needless to say, I couldn't hide the smirk on my face, which quickly turned into a giggle when the boyfriend and friend noticed my smirk.

The boyfriend turned to the woman and told her that I thought the situation was funny. We all exchanged entertained smiles and shaking of heads.

Then the friend rooted around in his bag a bit more and pulled out a piece of candy for himself. Further amused, the boyfriend asked, "What else do you have in there?!", looked at me and sort of shook his head.

I couldn't stop giggling. Maybe he had a Sour Patch Kid ...

At this point, the four of us were openly having a silent conversation.

Reaching in his back again, the friend took out another piece of candy and offered it to me.


What was I supposed to do? refuse?!

The whole situation was ridiculous.

Finally, the boyfriend looked at his friend, who had continued to rummage around in his bag ... "What? Do you have more?"

"Nothing. That's it."

The friend turned his bag upside down to show that there was nothing else and shared his last piece of candy with the boyfriend.


  1. Amazing things can be experienced if we simply allow ourselves to observe... Kim.. please consider adding the note to this post that lets the reader know that the "quotations" were in fact your perception of the interaction you observed.

  2. What a fun observation to share. Silent conversations with strangers can definitely leave lasting impressions :)