Monday, 8AM, the 6 train…
The man sitting in front of me is listening to a cassette Walkman, something I only realize after I hear the unfamiliar / familiar sound of a cassette tape being snapped into his machine. I watch his fingers linger lovingly over the worn, but still bright yellow plastic buttons and I think that he must have had that thing for about 20 years. Sitting to the man’s left are two pre-teen girls wearing school uniforms. They are watching him fuss with the controls of his Walkman. One of them leans over.
“Hey, what’s that?”
He looks at her with disregard. “What’s what?”
“That thing you’re listening to.”
“No, I mean the player. That’s a player for old school tapes, right?”
The girls nod. The second one says, “Ooh, right! My auntie has one of those in a picture I have. But I never seen one in person.”
The man frowns and says, “Well, it’s hardly a museum piece. They still sell them…somewhere.”
The girls go back to scrolling through their shared iPod, wearing one earbud each. The man puts his headphones back on and looks away and I wonder if he is feeling a million years old. I know I am.