Writing and random posts

Polyester cowboy

It made sense to make friends with my seatmates and neighbors. The ride from LA to New Orleans was more than 48 hours. We introduced ourselves. I gave as little information as I could. My name. 

The man with the grey cowboy hat and tight polyester button down shirt and even tighter pants stretched over his bulky frame was on his own with two children, boys. 8 and 10. Maybe 6 and 7. They kept themselves  occupied with games they brought. He played with them. 

I could tell he had his eye on me by the way he looked at me. He moved seats often to put space between the bickering boys or stretch his legs in his original seat diagonal from mine. He was trying to catch my eye. 

Some people would say I was imagining it. That I wanted him to notice me. 
Some people would say he wasn’t paying me as much attention as I would have liked, so I
resented him. 

Fuck some people. 

Not long into the journey I was regretting my decision to take the train. I was stiff and claustrophobic in the cramped upright seat. I didn't want to get up and stretch because I would draw attention to myself. I wanted to remain invisible. Unavailable. Not open for business of any kind. 

I wasn't scared. He was a dumpy hick,  I told myself. Study him for a character in a story. 

His son popped a big bubble of gum over his face. He screamed with glee "It went over my nose breathers." I still say nose breathers when I want to make my wife laugh. And to remind myself of my superiority. 

Nothing happened with the polyester cowboy except low level discomfort and high level amusement that reached its highest point when he was playing a game with his child in the seat in front of mine. He turned his big head around to look at me and said "I'm onna play with Marolyn next." 

I pushed myself back into my seat and didn't respond. Kept my eyes on him until he turned  back to his game. 

The woman next to me elbowed me and said "Oh, somebody likes you." We shared a silent giggle that put me at ease. Not because I felt protected and safe, but because she understood the ridiculousness of this man as well.