Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday

Woman 1/13/09

She was seated with her back against the subway map; her eyes closed and a pair of cheap black headphones over her ears. Her short black hair was parted to the right, starting just slightly left of center. Really chic cut, and probably long enough to cover her eyes and ears if she really wanted.

It was this colorful paper bag that caught my eye. It was one of those glossy paper shopping bags – medium sized. It was this multi-color number that had just as many stripes as it did polka dots. The words Happy Birthday were printed sideways- vertically up the height of the bag with the stripes as a background panel. And there was this pinwheel in the middle of the bag, sitting on top of all those polka dots. It just had the word Happy, printed in a circular pattern like the rings of a ripple effect.

I was wondering what made someone carry such a conspicuous bag when I caught a glimpse of a small tag on the handle. In what may have been her own handwriting were the words, “To Jackson. Happy Birthday. ” So, the bag was the wrapping to a gift.

That gift itself remained hidden from view. There was a small clear plastic tab sticking out above what was a black box. Not enough to tell. Was the gift for an adult or a child? Hard to tell with that bag.

The rest of her was pretty basic. A cream winter wool coat – possibly J. Crew or Banana Republic. A nice thin gold colored scarf around her neck. Blue pinstriped work pants over a pair of black Ugg boots. Her handbag was from Louis Vuitton; in that black and brown checkerboard print done in their usual pleather.

She left the train at a major residential stop in Brooklyn. There are no other trains there to connect to, and given the way she was dressed, it came as a surprise when she exited. I wonder where she worked. After all, pin striped pants over black Uggs was a unique combination.

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