kindness of strangers

the godfather underground

the godfather underground
Written by Cathoel Jorss,

Riding on the train underground I feel like a caterpillar carving through the belly of the city. The hungry metallic smell of the train’s breath is become familiar as I jog down the steps to Underworld. Sitting and writing and sitting and writing. I glanced up and caught the eye of an elder gentleman standing with his son against the glass doors, watching benignly. He said, across the carriage, “Schoene Schrift!” Lovely handwriting. Oh! I said. Thank you. And he nodded and nodded. I went back to my page. Filled it and turned to another and smoothed it down. Finished what it was I was saying and capped my pen and slipped the book into my bag. The doors opened onto the platform and this man and his son, my age, were standing beside me. He stepped back to let me past. “Alles schoen aufgeschrieben,” everything nicely written up, he said, with great satisfaction. Unintrusive and approving, like a kind of fairy godfather.


One comment on “the godfather underground

  1. ‘The Godfather Underground’- another of your humanity snapshots, so beautifully woven. The simple made beautiful. It resonates with me, as I so love to receive a love letter, hand-written, on beautiful paper, with passionate flourishes of the fountain pen and a real beauty in the phrasing and sentiments. Texts just aren’t the same.
    When I was a struggling student, a single mother with three young busy children, getting a degree for herself, to help gain better-paid, more satisfying employment, my lecturers hadn’t seen anyone who chose to hand-write their long essays. I had no choice, as I didn’t own a computer yet, and anyway, I always preferred slowly weaving the final argument of the essay, the final draft, in my own hand. I don’t know if it gained me any marks, but the slower thinking while I was writing, in a type of old-fashioned script like calligraphy, with a beautiful pen , made the writing feel less impersonal. It also gave me time, to rethink my original thoughts, then improve the essay’s continuity. My crazy, creative, intelligent (probably Aspie) lecturer remarked that he enjoyed reading my assignments best, and showed them to the other lecturers, asking me to have one published. It did a lot for my self-esteem, as a mature-aged student, as I had at first assumed it was just the actual script that was remarkable in any way, and not the argument and essay-writing. This simple human encouragement expressed inspired me to keep writing, just for myself, the fiction writing that I prefer – short stories and novellas and I am actually now ploughing away at a very black comedy novel based on truth, where ‘only the names have been changed to protect the innocent onlickers’. Maybe it’s that I like noticing, too, the humanity in everyday actions and occupations, as those machines we use do seem sometimes to take the simple beauty out of a well-done commonplace action. Maybe that’s why now, home-cooking, growing one’s own food and making one’s own clothes and furnishings have all become so much more popular.
    I sometimes wonder if the next generation will ever know , or miss, the sweetness of discovering the humanity in those hidden then found, beautifully-written, fragranced be-ribboned stacks of Grandma’s letters to Grandpa from France, World War 1, and his muddied, crumpled quickly-written, heartfelt replies with reassuring, caring words expressed (while writing from the Front). Text messages seem so rushed , so basic and lifeless, compared, and can be eliminated from history with one Delete click or a simple computer glitch.
    Most of all, when walking around a city, amid the mad rush of stressed souls intent on being somewhere else fast, I love the immediate random smiles of recognition when someone in the street notices something bizarre or funny that happens out of the blue, and that connects with someone else they have just passed on the street. That millisecond’s recognition-the knowing grin, the smile, maybe the laugh out loud, then the walk past, away, gone. The fun and sweetness of closely observing humanity.
    Keep surprising me with your observation-stories of serendipity and our humanity, Maybe try a bird hide! Cathoel. Cheers, Margosha

    Margosha April 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm

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