Forget the fashion for a second. Another window into the personality of a subway rider is the material they are reading. Pair that with their outfit and you have a very good idea of who they are, or are trying to be.
She was reading My Custom Van by Michael Ian Black. It’s a comedy book, and written by a man who while a cast member of The State, was never on The Kids in the Hall. I admit I’ve made that mistake.
What kind of a woman reads that book? The kind that carries a tote bag that had cartoon illustrations of whimsical food items. There were muffins, pink glazed donuts, broccoli, lemons, and coffee mugs. The best ones were actually hearts with the letters BFF or bfo in the middle, like those candy Valentine’s hearts grade schoolers give each other. The canvas tote had red accents and straps with silver grommets fastening them to the bag. Curiously, the lining was exactly the same print. Reversible tote perhaps?
On her head was a big red knit hat. Worn almost like a beret – off her forehead. That hat matched the red hoodie she had on. Her winter coat was black wool with small white dot pattern. And her gloves were black cotton. The scarf was a plain white ribbed wool number. Her age really started to show with her grey faded skinny jeans and her black worn Chuck Taylors. I couldn’t figure out why she only had on ankle socks on such a cold day though.
Her shoulder length hair was dark brown. No bangs. At first glance, her face looked clean. But a second look revealed very subtle eye shadow – her own light version of the smoky eyes look perhaps? She pulled out a tube of Burt’s Bees lip balm and did a light application in the middle of her ride.
It struck me that if she was reading a different book, or none at all, she would have given off a Parisian or sophisticated French girl kind of vibe. Heck, she could have been reading Twilight, or even Harry Potter. Why did it have to be Michael Ian Black?
Or maybe that was exactly the glance into her personality we needed?