Friday, October 18, 2019

If I Had Been Kafka’s Gregor Samsa

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” Franz Kafka
I have not been able to read a printed book on the train for some years now. My hands and arms and I can’t quite manage holding a book, in the needed position, without significant pain. Flipping through the pages of a book was my favorite thing to do while commuting… When the pain forced me to make a change, I started people hearing while riding.

People hearing is just like people watching, but with eavesdropping included. I’m not talking about spying or trying to overhear other people’s precious secrets. No, I wouldn’t enjoy that. I am referring to letting my ear near conversations others might be having on the bus, in line to pay for groceries, at the airport…   

Yesterday, while riding the 1 (the 1 train, that is) from Manhattan to The Bronx, my people hearing curiosity and I were served several treats:

- a woman with two dogs, said to one of the pups, “If you’re mommy’s very good girl, and you pee on that asshole’s rug, mommy will give you bacon.” I never found out who the asshole was.

- a very old man (no, he didn’t have enormous wings), told an invisible friend, “Cut your nails when they’re looking. Hit them in the eye. Hard in the eye. That’ll stop it.” I’m still wondering about the identity of the ‘it’ that needs stopping.

- a girl told her companion, “If I’d been the Gregor guy, I would’ve eaten my whole family. Some assholes deserve to be eaten.” I’m quite glad to inform you that I wasn’t the only people hearer who shook with laughter at the imaginative teenage girl’s cannibalistic choice of imagery.

It’s very likely that I will never stop missing the joy of reading a paper book while riding the bus or train. But I am grateful for the unexpected (and rather uncanny) gift that came out of the change. Now, if my skull and I could only get rid of the image of a teenage roach devouring the unsightliest of familial meals.


via

 - linked to the Interactive Moonlight Musings, over at Poets United, where my favorite person in the whole wide world, invites everyone to write an article (in 369 words or fewer) inspired by the Positive Side of Change.

33 comments:

  1. LOL. Hilarious things to overhear. Too funny.

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  2. extremely interesting write up -enjoyed each and every line

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  3. Stories find us via many mediums. LOL, it may not be Shakespeare, but it still sounds quite entertaining. I have to admit, I've had moods similar to that teenager's when I was young. I'm just grateful neither one of my offspring have ever eyed fava beans or chianti too closely.

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  4. Lol I like the referral to you being the insect zooming by and listening to peoples stories. Makes you indeed wonder what is going on. That must be quite an experience. I sometimes try too but my hearing is not good enough.

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    1. I doubt anyone could avoid overhearing others while riding a NYC train--the space is so small...

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  5. Bwahahahahaha ❤️❤️ I can't stop laughing at the teenage girl's choice of imagery! Thoroughly enjoyed this one, Magaly 😘😘

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  6. Haha,thanks for sharing this story! I'm glad that you could find a new gift out of an unfortunate situation.

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  7. Thank you for sharing these very entertaining snippets! (And I am glad to know the identity of your favourite person. *Grin.*)

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  8. Wonderful! You know, a million years ago in the 1960s/1970s, there was a long-running cartoon series in "The Village Voice" where the dialogue was all overheard snippets of conversation the author picked up here and there (lots from public transportation). It was a HOOT! Glad to see someone carrying on that fine tradition.

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  9. Love this, Magalay. It is something a girl can get away with, sort of. But let a guy get caught people hearing.
    ..

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    1. I suspect that cannibalistic comments effect people in the same way, regardless of the sex or gender of the person speaking them.

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  10. Change can be disruptive. But when embraced, a door opens and great things happen. Look at these delightful treats from your people hearing; I laughed out loud. :D

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    1. If we must grab the bull by the horns, we might as well enjoy the ride.

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  11. People watching is one of my favourite things, people hearing sounds just as good. Some of the best conversations I've had are ones I haven't been participant of, just within ear shot.

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  12. There's a story, or a poem, or a piece of flash fiction to be gleaned from all of those overheard snippets. You have discovered a wellspring of creative prompts... or perhaps, passing passenger prompts. ;) :D

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  13. Oh wow. A mean teen girl who turned into a giant deformed roach and ate her little brother. Or her older sister. Or her math teacher. Yes, her math teacher. Or, or...a train rider. Love it. Cant wait til you write it. xoxo lol

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    1. You know, I had a social studies teacher that would make a perfect character for this story, lol!

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  14. That is too funny! I love how you pull such delightful wonderment out of the everyday. You have mastered the art of noticing life!

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    1. "The Art of Noticing Life!" sounds like a fantastic title...

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  15. Those people pages, snippets (great word Emma) torn from bigger stories, I love this idea, love the post, and you bound the pages together to form a story to share xxx

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    1. Oh, the tales that book would tell! You know, I might have to start writing/collecting notes...

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  16. I love this! LOL! I'm going to start people hearing! Big Hugs!

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  17. I'd love to eavesdrop. Maybe some hearing aids will help my partly deaf ears... ~

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