The Subway Diary: 09-Dec-97

The Idle Urban Chitchat of (Former?) White Trash

Coffee with Melinda, at the Peacock in the West Village:

"Shocking confession," she said. "You know, I work for all these tall, skinny women. They all wear beige and air-kiss. We're in the fashion industry. But sometimes, I just want to yell 'Ozzy', and make the sign of the devil in the middle of a sales presentation. And stuff Tastykakes and Devil Dogs down their fucking gullet."

"It's that bad?" I asked.

"When I'm going nuts I go in the bathroom and sing Led Zeppelin songs."

I nodded. "Sure, you're suburban Pennsylvania white trash; they make you bottle it up. New Yorkers hate us because we remind them of tourists. How high did you get your hair?"

She moved her hand several inches above her flat brown bangs. "It scraped the roof of my Vega."

"Boys liked it?"

"Trashy boys." She smirked.

I smiled and asked, "Bigger question, just as relevant: when did you lose your virginity?"


"Metalhead named Sean?"

"A sophomore sax player in the marching band. Tad Something. Long hair. I was drunk."

"In the parking lot of the mall?"

"In a car at a Skid Row concert."

"Oh, shit," I said. "You win. The big grand prize. Skid Row."

"I remember all the lyrics."

"What was that? With those effeminate singers in bad metal bands, big hair? Did any sociologist ever explain it?"

"First two years of high school. Power ballads. Fuck yeah. Then I started to smoke pot and listen to Pink Floyd."

"That's me," I said. "I took them so seriously. I knew the names of the studios where they recorded the songs. My room was all posters of that stupid prism."

"It's painful to remember. The Wall."

"No," I said, "Wish You Were Here", over and over and over and over. That was the album for true believers. I had a stereo with auto-tape repeat." I laughed. "We would have hated each other."


"I hated girls who had sex with guys."

"Really? What was wrong with that?"

"Because they wouldn't have sex with me. Not that I ever asked."

"That's not very fair."

"Well, I forgive them."

"We're glad you do," she said. "Speaking as a representative."

"And speaking for the celibate, we're willing to let bygones be bygones."

"So this is more than coffee? This is a summit meeting?"

"Yes," I said, "I think it is. We are in the middle of intense negotiations."

"You know," she said, half-seriously, "I think we really are."




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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


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