The fall break of my Senior year, circa 2013, I took a train down to NYC in order to go to the Russian Consulate to get shit done (I filed some paper work and most likely cried afterwards). I usually take Megabus because it’s cheap and easy but I have this soft spot for train rides. So, I took the train to first go to Syracuse to see my friend and then would take it down to go to NYC the next day. I ran into one of my friends from school at the train station and we were ready to get on that train, sit together, and I wouldn’t of met anyone else, which was fine by me. Then the booming conductor voice announced that all NYC passengers had to go to one car and the others to another. We couldn’t be in the same train car together.
I made my way on and was looking for a seat. There was plenty of available space, if I wanted to sit next to someone but I was set on trying to sit by myself. Then it happened, I made eye contact with an overly excited eager guy. He was almost shaking with excitement and told me that the seat next to him was open and that I could sit there. Was this the first warning sign? Yes. Did I sit there anyways, paralyzed from my search and this man’s kindness? Yes.
I just wanted to sit there and read, be boring, and not make conversation. But this guy was one of those chatty guys. So he asked me about what I do, what I’m studying, what I’m reading. He told me his favorite sports teams (Penguins? Sabres? Or some Buffalo team.). Finally we got to talking about his work. He worked in a Kazoo factory. Remember those things from your childhood? The obnoxious noise makers we took for real instruments. The duck calls of children. He worked for the company that produced them, he himself may have produced them. Then he whips one out of his pocket! This guy had a Kazoo straight on him, for chance encounters such as this, and gave it to me. I thanked him, not really knowing what to do with a Kazoo. Maybe it was time to start a super indie, alternative, hipster band. Maybe it was time to blow on it and annoying everything within 20 yards of me (What is distance? What is the radius that a Kazoo could be heard?).
After the gift of a Kazoo, which at this point was basically like a dowry, I knew it was coming, I knew the question would be asked from the second that I sat down next to him. He proceeded to ask me if I had a boyfriend. (Now at this point I wasn’t as much of a feminist as I am now) I told him that yes indeed I did have a boyfriend because I didn’t want to go into the realm of him asking for my number, or asking me why I didn’t want to date, and for me to say the dreaded, “I’m not interested.” and have him continue to wonder why. Why did I have to use that excuse, saying that I had a boyfriend, as the only solution to make sure it didn’t get to that point? This question gets asked time and time again, but why does the fact that there is another man in my life have to be the valid excuse to get a guy to accept a no? Anyways, big social questions to the side, boys as great as a Kazoo is please after giving me one don’t follow up with asking me if I have a boyfriend. I don’t.
After I said that I did, he told me how he didn’t have a girlfriend but wanted one. And I felt it, man. Companionship is what a lot of people are seeking, someone to be able to be vulnerable with. He went out on a limb, which is a courageous act in itself, only to be let down. A lot of people, myself included, don’t have that courage to approach people. So why did I find it creepy? Was it lack of attraction from the beginning? Was it his approach? I felt like I should pity him, to want someone to connect with and finding it hard to find someone but I’m not going to pity anyone because he may find someone, one day. Won’t we all, even if it’s for the briefest of moments?
After that, we didn’t talk. And months later when I was moving out of my house after graduation, I threw out the Kazoo and any pity I may have felt.