Bear and I were on a streetcar in San Francisco and I had not taken a shower in a while because that’s how vacation works.
This is me:
This is what my hair was doing:
This is where we were going:
It was cold, which seemed mean of California, and I was thinking aloud that the city didn’t have nearly enough tall buildings and Bear was telling me I was a building snob. This woman with a baby got on and sat next to me. I immediately started worrying that she didn’t have enough space, with her baby and her diaper bag and her various other things that you carry with you when you have a baby. We were sitting towards the front, on those seats that say “Give these up if you’re young and healthy, you jerks” on them.
She looked at me, and I said, “Do you need more space? I’m sorry.”
She said, “No, I was just thinking that your hair looks really good.”
I said, “Oh! Thanks!”
She said, “That’s why I did that double take. I love it. You have these big, beautiful eyes, and it really brings them out.”
“Oh!” I said. “Thanks!”
I pretended to go on and think about other things, but really I was thinking, “What a great city! I love all these cute little buildings!”
It’s amazing how much a compliment can do. I wrote once before about how everyone should compliment each other. And some people thought I was weird. They were right, but I thought maybe I shouldn’t be so weird about it. And now I’m thinking that I was right all along (which feels pretty gratifying) and that people should just go ahead and be weird and awkward and compliment each other.
I told this girl I liked her hair, waiting for the subway at the Columbia stop a few weeks ago. She said “thanks” and gave me a suspicious look, like maybe I was going to stalk her and then cut off all her hair in her sleep and make a wig out of it and wear it while singing softly to myself, “Somebody loves you…” But usually when I compliment someone they smile like it actually makes them happy.
It actually makes me happy.
I had been thinking that I looked pretty gross and unsexy that day. I began to wonder, subtly, towards the back of my mind, if maybe Bear’s family was thinking something along the lines of “well, their kids won’t look right, but I’m sure they’ll be smart.” Or “she doesn’t look like she lives in Manhattan, but then, she does write that blog about how much cake she eats…which explains a lot.”
And then the woman with the baby on the streetcar said that thing and there I am, thinking, “Hell yeah. I am super hot.” And Bear’s family, in my head, is thinking, “He did good, that boy. Couldn’t have done much better.”
Which goes to show how powerful words are and stuff like that. They really are powerful.
* * *
Un-roast: Today I love my face’s version of freckles, which are very underdeveloped, but which try to come out with the sun.
22 Responses to “Stranger (with baby) on a streetcar”