7:20 p.m. Hudson Line. The old trains with the wood-grain panels.
I’m on the inside of a two-seater. My left foot firmly planted against the silver metal case that surrounds the floor heater. My right leg pressed against the seat in front of us, marking the edge of my personal space.
Green Henley and brown corduroy pants sits down. He removes his jacket and, with his satchel, places it on the luggage rack above our heads. His leg is moving closer to mine. I look over. A yellow plastic bag remains on his lap. His knee touches mine. I know what is about to happen.
It is pretty normal this time of night for people riding home to eat on the train. It is not the simplest maneuver seeing a Metro-North Shoreliner coach was never meant for that purpose. But, seeing cafe/bar cars have not been seen on the Hudson Line since the 1980’s – if you want to eat something you will be doing it right there with the rest of us. No matter what you have decided to shovel into your gullet, we will be there for your feast. And, because your fellow commuters are along for the ride, your choice for dinner will determine if you are that guy. As I took a deep breath, I knew. Green Henley with brown cords was that guy.
The white plastic container with the clear top slid out from the plastic bag. The steam from the hot food condensing on the lid. I looked over. Pop. I waited. It hit me as Green Henley pushed his plastic spoon in stew-like consistency. My eyes watered.
Indian food, with a lot of curry.