After a long day at work I get onto the streetcar. Elvis Costello is bleeding through my earbuds. I walk past a pretty young woman. Behind her is a nerdy guy playing his 3DS. Behind him is an empty seat. I sit down.
I pull out my phone and check twitter. I don't care, it's noise, it's politics, it's anger. It doesn't keep my attention. I look at the guy's 3DS, he's playing Smash Bros. I don't like that game but my son does. I can picture my son as this guy in 9 years, engrossed in his game during a boring late night commute. I like him because of that. He's got that oblivious concentration my son has. The oblivious concentration he gets from me.
Twitter still sucks. I'm not focused. I've been working too long. I need to take a walk.
The young woman turns so she can take off her jacket. She sees the guy and her face lights up. She says something to the him. I can't hear her over the sounds of an almost empty gin palace. The guy looks up at her, mid match. She raises her 3DS, it's the XL version with Animal Crossing on the large screen.
His face lights up and they begin to talk. I think it's about gaming.
Twitter has never been less interesting. I keep looking at it but my attention is on the people in front of me. She's animated, she's interested, she's touching her hair. He's giving her his full attention. He's enjoying this but there's something awkward, like this is new to him.
I want to take Elvis out of my ears and listen but I can't. It's wrong. I'm already intruding. I feel creepy so I keep looking at my phone, but it might as well be turned off. What is happening in front of me is pure, it's honest, it's beautiful.
I'm watching two strangers connect. Two people from different lives who have come together to share this moment through a fluke of discomfort and a shared love of video games.
I vaguely make out the sound of the automated street announcement. Her head turns and I'm convinced that I see disappointment in her face. She pulls the cord and gathers her things. I'm heart broken. This isn't how it's supposed to end. They are supposed to leave together, or exchange numbers, or sit and drink coffee all night. But they don't even streetpass each other.
I realize I'm projecting onto them. I don't care, this is still beautiful.
They shake hands and say goodbye to each other. She leaves and he starts a new match. His oblivious concentration takes over.
All I have left is Twitter.
I get off early. I need to walk.