today i took the subway to queen station and was heading up the escalator toward the exit when someone behind me said something. assuming he was talking to someone else, i kept walking up the escalator, then heard him call, "sir??" from the bottom of the escalator. startled, thinking i might’ve dropped something, i turned around in time to hear him say, "you ever do that? look back when you leave the bank machine?" as he gestured toward the atm nearby. baffled, i replied, "uh… why?" and he said, "you know, see if you missed anything?" by this point, i'd reached the top of the escalator while he had just stepped on at the bottom, but for some reason he was intent on continuing this conversation despite the fact that we were practically yelling to each other. determined to shut it down, i replied, "yeah… i guess, sometimes," stepping off the escalator and making a beeline for the exit.
as i walked down queen street, it occurred to me that the first thing he had said - the thing i initially hadn't heard - was "you ever do that?" in a tone so casual that it sounded like he was talking to a friend, not a stranger who wasn’t even looking at him.