[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab, published on December 4, 2013]
Above, Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, and Alfred Hitchcock on the set of the 1954 film Rear Window (photographer unknown)
Riding the bus, train, or metro isn’t exactly a communal experience but, unlike driving, isn’t a solitary one either. Even if you’re commuting alone, you’re never really alone.
Overheard conversations by one’s fellow passengers can be one of the mildly voyeuristic satisfactions of public transit. A snippet of conversation is a brief glimpse into another person’s life and a chance, like Alfred Hitchcock’s protagonist in Rear Window, to invent a backstory for that random fellow passenger based on a momentary exposure to him.
Here is a selection of dialogue fragments overheard during my last 30 days of mass-transit ridership. Some strange, some humorous, and some timely. In no particular order. Which is your favorite?