Sam caught my eye before I bumped into him at the turnstile. He walked in front of me as we proceeded down the stairs. I liked his demeanor… he didn’t seem hurried nor did he casually walk. He was determined and efficient in his moves. I notice atypical behavior in typical environments and I was proven right in my categorization of Sam, for even though he seemed quick, he stood in the longest line to purchase his subway voucher.
Not once did he look to the other lanes. He counted his change over and over, a slight smile on his face. He stuck like glue to the person in front of him, matching steps. I forgot to purchase my own ticket and stood in the middle of this bustling square, immovable, staring at the little quirks of this little man.
As his turn approached I reminded myself to also purchase a ticket and quickly ran to an empty stall, trying not to take my eyes off him. After buying it I watched him ascertain that his was printed correctly and that he had chosen the right destination.
As he approached the turnstile I aimed for the same one and bumped shoulders with him. He let out a “Whoah!” with a big smile and stepped back, gesturing with his arm to let me pass first. I smiled at him and returned the gesture. He was adamant. So I went first.
I turned to him after he followed through and smiled. “Hey, sorry about that.”
He looked taken aback and stopped, smiling back at me. After a moment, he said: “It was half my fault… you really shouldn’t feel bad about it or anything.” He pondered for another moment and stopped smiling, then grinned and looked back at me with a nod. Then he gestured for me to go ahead again.
When we both stepped on the escalator I turned to face him again. “So, how is your day going?”
He paused with half a smile on his face as if he was reminiscing about his entire day at that very moment. “I had a very good day. I feel great. I’m Sam by the way.” He held his hand forward and shook mine confidently.
I smiled, nodded, and faced forward. I was nervous. Sam was making me nervous. No one makes me nervous. But Sam was.