Tube Face

Mee mee mee? written on the Bakerloo Line

10:45 a.m. Wednesday

7 December 2005

Right from start, I have loved the Tube. Lots of people don’t. They moan about it. They complain it is too hot or dirty or expensive (it is!). But I love it!

No one can escape me!

I love looking straight in the faces, then drawing up stories about those faces, putting them together, mix and match. I never have enough time on the Tube. I rock back and forth, listening to La Vie en Rose on my MP3 player and playing games with the faces, the same way Paul and Kathy did on the bus on the New Jersey turnpike.

I love it, most especially on the early Friday mornings, 6:37 a.m., in the winter, the Bakerloo line coming from the north. The cars are so cold after being parked out all night; everyone is hunkering down. No Metros out yet. Mostly lovely, rough men, not shaven, in blue jackets with plaster and paint on them, their toolboxes or lunchboxes, or both, at their feet. They stare at their hands, or just at the air in front of them. And gorgeous African women bent over their Bibles, skin shimmering, smooth. I don’t know where they are going, and I wonder if they care where I am going.

There’s a girl, right now! She’s wearing an ORANGE winter coat with big Muppet-ruffled edges, just exactly the texture and color of Beaker’s hair. Her hair is pushed back with a wide, bright pink headband. I love her. Next to her, there’s that cute old couple: the lady keeps stealing glances around, sometimes at me. Her face isn’t stony or blank; her eyebrows are lifted and she isn’t smiling — but she isn’t NOT smiling either.

There’s this lovely, long, luscious black man in a overcoat with nubby mini-dreads and Buddy Holly frames. And, hello! Look who’s looking at me! That cute boy with the long nose: he’s jamming to his I-Pod.

OH! Sorry … must run. I have to change to the Victoria Line now!

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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