ALTERED PERCEPTIONS

The parents aren't accustomed to public transit. They take seats opposite their daughter and the father says, "I'm sorry we didn't get to spend more time with Trevor honey, do you think we disappointed him?" in a voice from a sub-urban living room.

The girl, in her all black canvas shoes, brown leather jacket, mini-skirt and leggings, looks out of place addressing her parents on this train. She would normally be pouting into a novel her roommate recommended, or else plugged into her iPod with hands folded on her lap. She hasn't been living in New York very long.

"No" She replies, "You guys did good. I mean, he's not really looking for any reaction in particular. He's done it to me too. There's no wrong response."

Her mother, a squat woman with a concerned intelligent face leans forward towards her daughter, "Where are we going right now?"
"6th avenue."
"Pardon?"
"About eleven stops. About eleven stops from here."
"Ahh!" The mother leans back contentedly. Like her husband, she never looks around. They glance at the advertisements but their child is the only person on this train.

The girl addresses her father again, "What he's trying to do is create an out of body experience." Her father considers this. "He was trying to make you feel like you were mom and she was you, or like you were both the same person."
He rubs his chin, "Right."
"Did you experience that?"
The dad thinks about the question a little bit, his tone is never cynical. "No..."
He returns the question to his daughter.

"I did... I mean it isn't a completely altered perception and everyone experiences it differently. Like when he had you holding the camera so that it looks like your body is attached to mom's head."
"Right."

"Where is it that we're heading?" Asks the mother again.
"6th Avenue."
"Pardon?"
"6th Avenue, the museum is on 6th Avenue."
"Ahh!"

The girl glances around the car. Her father is waiting for her to continue talking but she doesn't. She is aware of all the faces watching her. They are hurtling under the East River and the train is full of other people in their twenties, all of them completely absorbed in the dynamic of her family, the sub-urban American nakedness of their dialogue.

She makes eye contact with a bearded guy holding a backpack that says Get Lost in his lap. He has decided he hates her simple minded parents. A girl with orange hair is staring at her, trying to guess which museum they are heading to. A guy reading The Pale King is trying to reach an opinion about the far-out boyfriend character - is he corny or brilliant? Could she do better? Would he sleep with her? Would she sleep with him?

Everybody remains completely silent for the rest of the ride. Her parents staring contemplatively at each Delta Airlines advertisement. One, after another, after another.