| October 30, 2017 | 1 Comment

Walking around dressed as a hammerhead shark is an incredibly effective way to make new friends. I don’t know exactly what it is – the gray shapelessness of its aesthetic form? The little triangular felt teeth? – but something about the shark suit makes me somehow very approachable.


As a point of evidence: I was standing on the green line platform at North Station the other day, and very shortly before the T pulled up a bystander asked me for a selfie. They were middle aged, wearing a pink hijab and some very comfortable looking tennis shoes. I obliged to the extent of one photo, but had to run into the closing doors of the T before I could speak with them any more than I had. It was at that point that we shared a real Moment. Unbroken eye contact carried us together from the point that I grabbed on to a probably-unimaginably-dirty metal T pole to the point that brought me out of their eyesight. We waved to each other for those final seconds of our mutual experience, hand wagglingly attached to the idea of our fleeting coexistence. It reminded me of the scene at the beginning of too many charming tales about young white British children during the war era: I was a young passenger on a train bound for “the countryside”, waving with futility and love. (I hope that my new friend does not experience a blitzkrieg.)


This was an experience that lasted about twenty seconds, all in all. I know for certain that I am going to remember it for a while. I know, too, that specifically for my new friend I exist as a transient moment in their memory, but also as a photo in their phone. It makes me wonder how they will tell this story. Who will they show that photo? How will the whole thing be framed? Will the train-waving nonsense be important to their memory at all, as it is to mine?


An important consideration is that there were about fifty people within reasonable eye-range of this whole incident. These are the Bostonians who really determine how weird this whole thing was. These are the Bostonians whose memories are, potentially, the most worthy of interest. How much weird crap has happened at that North Station green line platform, anyway? Some of those fifty people have almost definitely Seen Some Stuff, whether at that platform or another. Boston is a city where Stuff happens all the time, and the T provides a sort of intense microcosm of Boston itself. Will I, in my hammerhead shark costume, and my new friend, in their much more normative hijab and tennis shoes, make it into stories about the night? Were we weird enough, or sweet enough, or funny enough? Will we turn into someone else’s T story?


I’m not sure, and I’ll never know. But I still have my shark suit, and I plan on wearing it unnaturally often.


featured photo credit: Max_G6 Run boy run! via photopin (license)


Category: East by West by T, featured

Lolo Serrano

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  1. Kai Medina says:

    I love this so freakin much! For the past two years or so, I’ve been keeping a photo a day project. It’s through this that I try my best to capture the day to day stories I see. So much goes on in boston in every nook and cranny and every bit of this story resonated with that so well. The mutual experience you two had, along with all the other fifty people seeing this momentary exchange, and the huge yet unnoticeable impact it had. This is just the exact thing I love about the city.

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