I work in the Bronx and live in Brooklyn. Needless to say, it's a long trip home on the subway. If you've ever been on the New York City subway, you know that a seat is a precious thing during rush hour, and as I get on the train toward home at the penultimate stop on my particular subway, I normally get a seat immediately. I read a lot, try not to engage too much, and get annoyed when someone tries to squeeze in between my big butt and the big butt next to mine when a space in between is smallish.
So I'm reading this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine article on Colonel Nathan Sassaman ("What the War Did to Colonel Sassaman"), who recently retired from the Army after men under his command forced two Iraqi cousins to jump off of a bridge, killing one. Colonel Sassaman would still have his job, if he had chosen to tell the higher ups that he knew about the incident. Instead, he chose not to tell his bosses, and now he's back in Colorado as a civilian.
But that's not this story.
So I'm sitting my big butt in a seat, and there's a smaller seat between me and another woman with a big butt, and a small woman wedges in between us. I'm a little annoyed, but I know that I've done it before, and hey, if the seat is big enough and if your butt's not so big, and you can squeeze in without causing serious turmoil, more power to you.
When the random small woman sat down, she pulled out a letter, which looked like it might have been faxed. Now how do I know that? Well... on the subway, it's very easy to peak over your shoulder and read someone else's reading material, when something catches your eye.
Like the United Nations letterhead on the top of the letter she was reading.
Needless to say, in this day and age, it's something that catches your eye.
She had gotten on at 42nd Street, not far from the United Nations building at 42nd and 1st Avenue. It started: "Dear Ms. C, We are pleased to inform you of your new temporary assignment in the country of Sudan."
And yes. I did feel like a smuck for begrudging her a seat between my big butt and the other lady's bigger butt.
I'm pretty sure it was her letter. She was reading it much too intently. I only caught the first few paragraphs, but essentially, she was off to Sudan for an assignment, doing who knows what for a period of time. I contemplated asking her about it, but she got off at 14th Street, and well, you know, I was looking at something that was none of my business anyway.
The only thing I can say, is that I wish you well, Ms. C.; good luck and bon voyage.