When commuting, reading helps avoid eye contact. Though these days, e-books prevent you from seeing what others are reading, I still love paperbacks.
My subway line passes through Brighton Beach, and ‘little Odessa’, so there are usually some babushkas on the crowded trains, sometimes even wearing the namesake scarves. One day, I caught the eye of one, who smiled warmly at me and my copy of “The Brothers Karamazov.” Some weeks later, we ‘met’ again, but my expected approving glance was met with a steely gaze and deeply creased frown. Perhaps they felt no sympathy for ‘Sofia Petrovna’ plight…