The other day we found ourselves on an exceptionally plot-packed car on the BART train to SFO. Several competing movies seemed to be playing out in one tiny airport-bound space, with us awkwardly in the way of all of them.
A few stops in, a young man and woman a few seats down, in my line of sight, started quietly freaking out.
He, staring with amazed delight at his phone and at her: "Get the fuck out of here. Get the fuck out of here!"
They continued in this happy but nonspecific vein for some time. While I was doing my best to eavesdrop more effectively, a group of hustlers running a shell game poured into the car and set up shop right at Steve's elbow. Their setup was the shell game equivalent of a bong made out of a Coke can: three plastic bottlecaps for the shells and a little grotty piece of foam rubber as the pea.
Steve entertained himself by silently picking out the shills from the marks as I concentrated on the couple. Aha! Someone wanted him for their tv show in some capacity. For Fox! "As in F - O - X!" But what? He seemed plausibly good looking enough to be an actor, nebbishy enough to be a writer.
Meanwhile, the guy running the shell game waved a hundred dollar bill. "Show me your money. Show me your money." F - O - X kissed, held hands, stared together at the phone. "I don't even know what to say. What should I say? I don't know what to say."
A shill flashed his comically obvious carny roll.
"What if this weekend was just... some one-time magical thing?"
The shill "won" the hundred dollars and exchanged very studied daps with the dealer.
In another part of the car, a separate, not very good, indie drama was unfolding in which a tall guy in his early twenties, sending off little pings to my gaydar, ran into a co-worker and engaged in some pro-forma flirting with her friend. "No, honey, if you weren't scheduled, you weren't playing hooky! I'm playing hooky."
An apparent actual mark lost twenty bucks. (Who the hell bets money on a shell game, anyhow, when the phrase "shell game" is literally synonymous with "scam"? I mean, really.)
The nature of the F - O - X opportunity finally revealed itself: "I wouldn't actually be the cinematographer, but I would be the first cameraman." (Hooray!)
Then everything wound down in nicely coordinated style. The shell game broke up, the participants putting in a merely perfunctory effort to disguise the fact that they were together as they left the train. The budding director of photography and his girlfriend settled in for some serious making out, and the flirting friends went their separate ways.
Having written all this out, it occurs to me that my New York friends are no doubt still waiting for the part where something unusually subway-eventful happens. For you jaded Gothamites, please imagine all of the above performed by bingo-playing Jedi getting married and not wearing pants. In duplicate.