Stranger Log – Entry One

Current mood:  quixotic

Here’s a project, friends:
Have a friendly conversation with a random stranger every day. It’s an apple a day for the city.


On the N train. I am on my way to the Italian consulate at Webster and Broadway. This morning, I will be signing the wedding papers for my friends, Ken and Brenda, who are eloping in Italy. Witnessing at the consulate is like being on Italian soil.
A stout, pear-shaped man in his 50s steps onto the train. Hes got white hair in a military buzz cut and a big, red, spreckly W.C. Fields nose. He’s carrying a garment bag. His voice is deep and arid, like the smell of fresh brewed coffee at a truck stop sunrise. I tell him how I’m on my way to the Consulato Italiano to sign as a witness on my friends’ wedding papers. Hes from Bozeman, Montana, going home this morning, on his way to the Oakland airport. He came into town for the medical center at UCSF.
“Did you get to see much of the town?”
“No, just the testing facility and the transit system.”
“My sister’s a doctor. She graduated from UCSF.”
He flew in from Bozeman to run the tests because this is “the only place in the world where they have this test.”
He’s only been to San Francisco twice. The last time was in 1973. “These arent the same tracks the cable cars used to run on?”
“No, these are all new lines.”
He asked for some station transfer advice.
“I want the civic center station. It’s the one I came here on.”
“Civic Center is two stops into this next tunnel.”
“So, two stops after you get off?”
“Exactly. Have a smooth trip home.”
“Have a good time on Italian soil!”

Currently listening:
By Oingo Boingo
Release date: 17 May, 1994


About Suhail Rafidi

Suhail Rafidi is a novelist and educator whose works explore the destiny of human values in a technological landscape. You can find him on Twitter, too, @shelldive.
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