I'm sitting (as usual) at Fair Trade Cafe watching the people gathered for the annual pants-free light rail ride at the station across the street. I have a complete panoramic view of the Roosevelt/Central Ave light rail platform, and there has formed one big congregation of people in their underwear either enthusiastically talking about how absurd and random they are being and what people who aren't aware of this annual tradition must be thinking, or they are enthusiastically intentionally avoiding the obvious subject to capitalize on the opportunity to add an extra layer to the random wackiness. About 5 yards from that large group of people is a girl, also in her underwear, standing by herself reading a book. Now, I am exceptionally bad at determining what women are thinking, but that has never stopped me from trying. There are two general scenarios that start as she arrived at the platform, which I will try to capture. From what I can gather about her appearance, she is around 21, at least in college if not graduated, and trapped between the parallel mirrors of spending money on clothes to make her look poor but not wanting to look actually poor so as to attract other people with enough money to want to look poor so they can look poor together. Blue-green underwear, evenly pasty complexion, good metabolism, walks a lot, but hasn't set foot in a gym since her Self-Esteem Crash of 2006. She approaches the platform and it is one of two scenarios.
She arrives with her pants off and observes the crowd:
"Ok good, I'm not the only one doing this. Shit, did I date that guy? Better stay away, that'd be so fucking awkward if that was him. I'll read this book to seem unavailable."
Or, she arrived with her pants on and observes the crowd:
"Wait... oh, that's today? Shit, I wanted to do that, too! I guess I still could. If I take out this book, I'd totally have enough room in my bag for these pants. Yeah! (She turns away from the platform and walks down a side street) Ok, I just need to find somewhere private to take off my pants and... wait, what am I talking about? I just need something to lean on, right? Though I don't want to attract attention... That car with the thumping bass would probably yell at me. Maybe I shouldn't do this. No, fuck that, I wussed out last year and regretted it. I'll just step into the double-doors of this office building and... why am I doing this? What good could possibly come of this? Is it a cool story? Will I make new friends? Get a date? I'm not doing this just for a Facebook status update, right? I guess it's just one of those bucket list things. This building looks empty, if I could just get through the door... it's Sunday, it's probably locked. What if there are cameras? Or people? Is it weird that I'm doing this alone? Fuck it, I'll just take off my pants on the platform and it won't be awkward. Ok. I gotta get psyched for this and make sure everyone sees! (approaches platform again and once there, removes pants in a bold grandiose gesture, takes a large book out of her bag and replaces it with the pants) I don't think anybody was paying attention. Shit. I was hoping someone would cheer me on and welcome me to the group. Maybe I was trying too hard. Dammit! Now I'm standing here. With no pants on. Holding this book that I'm not reading that no longer fits in my purse. (30 seconds go by) I feel weird standing here holding this large book in my hands. I don't want to read it, I finished reading it yesterday. I need something to do right now until the train arrives and I can sit down and feel less self-conscious. I guess I could read the last chapter over again, I kinda rushed it yesterday. (She opens the book and stares at the pages until the train arrives.) Wait... These seats are filthy.