Would You Like Some Gum?

I sit on the train everyday and watch people interact. It's always amusing to me to see that unless you are with a friend, you do not speak, at all. You stare at your phone, or just pass the person sitting in front of you's head and wait the five minutes till you can escape and get to where you need to be. People pretend like they are the only one's there and it's amazing to me how society discourages face to face interaction with strangers, but online, that's a completely different story.

One day I decided to see what people would do if you broke the unspoken contract to pretend the other person didn't exist. I sat by myself and a couple sat in the seats in front of me. The train takes you straight through my university campus, which was where I was going. It looked like they too were headed to school. I avoided them for the first half, trying to figure out how to break the social construct. Finally I remembered the pack of gum in my backpack. I took it out and started to chew a piece, before I asked them if they would like a piece. They looked at me like I had turned into an alien before their eyes. They were confused, and it was clearly written over their faces. You don't give strangers gum, and you most certainly don't talk to strangers on the train. One of them declined the other said she'd like one and thanked me. We sat back in silence, I was happy to have broken the "rules" of the train ride, and they were happy to have a piece of gum. Just before we got to school, the lady turned to me.

"Excuse me," she said, as if I was doing anything to interrupt. "Do you offer gum to everyone who sits with you on the train?" I told her, only when I had a piece myself, which was a lie, but it's not like she would know. She looked excited for some reason. " That is so genuine of you! No one ever talks on the train, and no one ever gives someone else a piece of gum when they have a piece. You must be a really nice person." We arrived at our mutual stop and exited, both going to our separate classes.

Human behaviour is fascinating, change the way people expect you to act, and you will be fascinated by the reactions you will get in turn.
WeAllFallDown WeAllFallDown
18-21, F
2 Responses Dec 11, 2012

That's almost as bad as talking to someone on an elevator. You're not thinking of that too, are you?

lmao no, the rules of the elevator are sacred to me... though one time I was on the elevator with this guy, we both got on at the fifth floor and it stopped at the third to let someone else on. He said to no one, "I never knew this floor existed." I wanted to say something, but I waited until we were both off the elevator to ask why he thought a fifth floor was possible without a third floor.

I want a piece of gum