I always hate when athletes, musicians, and actors thank God for their trivial accomplishments, like Jesus is spending extra time making sure Tim Tebow catches a ball perfectly or that Justin Bieber pops and locks with precision, but can’t be bothered to stop drunk driving accidents. It’s the worst sort of egoism masked as devotion; it rankles me to my core. But I may have to change my stance on all of this, because on Friday night, God gave me the perfect subway ride.
I was coming back from rehearsal for the next installation of the Marvelous Meerkat’s and my cabaret with MM and our amazing guitarist, the Assiduous Armadillo. As we entered the train, I noticed a mom-like lady holding what looked like a dry erase marker while talking to two young adult daughter-like ladies. To my immense delight, moments after the doors closed, she began smoking from it. This lady was smoking from a fake cigar just like Alison Dubois, the crazy psychic from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
I do not understand these fake smoking devices. They smell like hookah, they look ridiculous, and people insist on smoking them in places where they haven’t been allowed to smoke a real cigarette in at least a decade. I have never seen anyone use one of these contraptions without looking like a crazy person or at least like someone who never grew out of thinking that smoking looks cool and sexy but doesn’t have the courage to follow through with the health risks that accompany it.
I had so many questions, but obviously would never break my number one rule of self preservation by approaching her and asking myself, which is where I felt the hand of divinity at work. A similarly mom-like lady facing her stood up and walked over. I forced my traveling companions to be silent as we shamelessly eavesdropped. Cigar Mom one extolled the virtues of the fake cigarette and encouraging Curious Mom to get one for herself posthaste, to which Curious Mom politely declined the necessity, because she was not a smoker (and, implicitly, not a crazy person). “Oh, neither am I,” declared the lady puffing on the end of a magic marker like a cartoon gangster in an insane asylum.
It took me hours to go to sleep that night; I was so hopped up. This train ride was the perfect storm of people watching. It had drama, intrigue, and at the end of the day, it made me think. I love these people on the streets and trains of New York, because they are so unself-conscious. I am narcissistic enough to think that people are always watching me, which is probably almost never true. But these people, like Cigar Mom, are completely uninhibited by those around them. She’s just living her life, confident and self-assured. We could all stand to be a tiny bit more like Cigar Mom.