I switched to the Red Line today and found this loud person on the train. Whereas I usually sort of resent the people who are so loud I can’t not listen, this guy I just loved in all honesty.
What was he doing? He was sitting on an aisle facing seat, Yellow Pages on his lap, cold calling restaurants and trying to sell them ads in support of a veterans charity. He sounded like a Mamet character, pre-Hollywood, with a thick, authentic and unabashed Chicago accent. He kept his finger under an entry, called it on his cell phone, gave his pitch, got rejected or hung up on, and moved on to the next line and called. Of course he called everyone “my friend,” even when they were predictably yelling at him. But, he stayed focused and resillient and well-intentioned. He struck me as an American entrepreneur dug in, ready for the fight. He was unapologetic about what he was doing and where. And he never noticed that I surrounded him like a photographer at a photo shoot. When the train hit the subway tunnels, he slapped his phone book and his phone into his briefcase. When he next saw sunlight, he pulled everything back out again. This guy’s hustle set my compass. I hope he books some sales. And that he gets the good leads.