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That’s What Friends are For

Leigh updates me about the her daughter’s upcoming wedding as I inhale the sweet aroma of my hazelnut creme coffee.

I nod appropriately, ask a few general questions to allay her suspicion that I am not listening at all.

But the truth is, I am not listening. Her story bores me. The wedding is out of state and I’m not invited. So, there is little reason for me to invest my time and energy in actively listening to her talk about her daughter’s wedding.

Leigh and I sit next to each other every day on the train because we know each other’s habits, and our habits do not conflict. I know that she will not talk loudly on a cell phone while I try to sleep; and she knows that I will not clip my toenails on the train.

Over the years, we have gotten to know each other, and we have shared our life stories.  But while we are friendly towards each other, we are not truly friends. Rather, we would be better described as symbionts.

And that’s what train friends are for: We have a cooperative relationship in which we help each other pass the time in relative comfort.

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