Angela Chasisms: On Strangers


Angela Chasisms: Existential moments when you feel like the way you’re thinking about something is exactly the way that Angela Chase would think about the same thing, so you like, think about it, like in that way, that like, she does. This week: Strangers.


1. Sometimes when I’m walking around in SoHo I’ll see an “indie” movie actor and as we pass one another we’ll have this affinity, this single moment that’s entirely ours, where we stare into each other’s eyes. But once the moment is over I always wonder if he was thinking, “she looked at me because she recognized me” or, if it’s possible, that for that split second, my face was actually interesting to, like, a complete stranger who just happens to be famous.

2. It’s so weird when you see a boy on, like, the L train or something that you know but who doesn’t know you. Like, to them you could be anyone. Actually, you are anyone. And there’s this moment where he looks at you and, in that second you think that maybe he recognizes you. But then you realize he’s only looking at you because you’re looking at him. That in reality he has no idea who you are. That ultimately he never will, you know, know you. But then you start spinning and take on this completely different reality where you have this entire conversation with him. Like, right there, on the L train. And you play out a scene of what you’d say if you ever had the actual courage to, you know, say anything.


ME: “Hey. Matt, right? I was at your house that time when you had that huge roof party last summer. You live above that coffee shop ‘Oslo,’ right?

HIM: Oh, yeah!

ME: I like, didn’t go in there for so long because I thought I wouldn’t understand protocol. (ME chuckles coquettishly, shyly.) You know what I mean? Like, when there’s this place, that everyone knows how to use, but you missed the boat cause you were using your own coffee machine at home. (HIM laughs heartily, but not too heartily. But, just enough.) And you feel like there are all of these rules to buying coffee that you just don’t know, or, whatever.  Like, what if you can’t find the lids? And you have to ask, like, an actual worker where to find one.

HIM: Yeah, that’s how I feel about Bike Shops. So, instead of going in I just taught myself how to build a fixie off of YouTube.

ME: Haha. Yes! But, so, yeah the party on your roof was super dark and we didn’t actually get introduced. But I remember you had on a yin and yang tee-shirt, which made me laugh because I was wearing this yin and yang necklace that I bought as a joke, like, that very day.


And while you were talking he’d be super animated and responsive. And then you’d get off the train at the same stop and he’d ask you if you wanted to go to Oslo. And then you’d, like, date.

I could have said something to him, you know? I could have struck up an actual conversation with him. Instead, I just stood next to him for eight minutes, pretending. It’s so weird how we all walk around with this, ego, and it prevents us from doing anything that might make us, like, actually happy.

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