The Suits and the Donuts

Lunch with coffee and donutsThis morning I watched as a thousand commuters got on the train – single, alone, selfishly listening to music, reading a book, or turning the pages of one of the free morning newspapers. It’s a solitary business, going to work by train. Even if you see people you know, it’s really difficult to coordinate your train with anyone else’s train. If the train you agreed to ride together arrives a few minutes early, you will probably abandon your contact in favor of getting on the train. Conversely though, if it’s late, I guess you would have someone to complain to, someone who would share your frustration. It was really quiet this morning. I read my book – on my phone – and barely noticed that we had pulled into my switchover station as I now call it. I take one train and then switchover to another. It gives a chance to collect a fancy coffee sometimes and to suspend my route to Train Number Two for just a moment. I did that today – I decided Monday was as good an excuse as you could get to buy a fancy coffee so I slid through the turnstile and out into the concourse where I stood and waited for that coffee. And I was suddenly surrounded by Suits – the men who dress alike in corporate America, who wear suits, and ties, and wing-tips. This is the first time, remarkably, that I have seen Suits in this spot. I overheard one of them as he threw his head back laughing – “Irish? Oh God, no, I grew up in an Italian neighborhood!” Hilarity all around. What struck me immediately was not just the forced hilarity or them swapping stories about shoveling out their driveways but how absent women were. This was a clutch of around a half dozen colleagues, all yucking it up about snow and their neighborhood, on their way to buy donuts, and for the life of me, I could not fathom how a woman would have fit into that picture this morning. It’s been a very long while since I was witness to such a 1950s, throwback view of the world of men and women. So, my Monday morning fancy coffee was soured because not only did I not find any way to see a woman fitting into this conversation, I realized that if I can’t even imagine a way to buy donuts with these men, how do we ever find ourselves at that conference room table 10 minutes later, sharing donuts? Anne Born is a New York-based writer who has been writing stories and poetry since childhood.  While her children were enrolled in New York City public schools in the late 1990s, she edited and published The Backpack Press, and the CSDIII News, a monthly newsletter covering all public schools on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  She blogs on Open Salon and Red Room and her writing focuses on family and life in a big city after growing up in a small one.  She is also a photographer who specializes in photos of churches, cemeteries, and the Way of St. James in Spain.  Most of her writing is done on the bus.  www.about.me/anneborn. You can follow Anne on Twitter at @nilesite. Image via iStockphoto

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