On the train into the office this morning, I found myself next to someone who completely unnerved me. His outward appearance gave off no initial terror—twenty-something, placid expression, tight, gelled curls, white t-shirt, maroon shorts, sneakers, backpack—but took on some when compounded with a couple of other factors. See, floating from the guy’s headphones was Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”, a/k/a “The Titanic Theme.” This frightened me, but not to where I thought my life was in harm—his, on the other hand, maybe. This went on for a few minutes, the train burrowing to its next station, all the while, that same placidity upon the guy’s face. Now I try not to be a judgmental asshole, but, come on, what the fuck is this guy doing listening to Celine Dion? The print of his tee and cut of his shorts hinted at a potential of the guy being European, but how long can that be an excuse? So there he is, listening, and there I am, getting weirded-out. Then comes the final factor, the piece that unraveled me, and set off my fight-or-flight response. With the train and Celine’s heart heading onward, the guy looks at his watch. For ten to fifteen seconds. That’s a long time to be staring at your watch. I watched him watch the watch. There were no gadgets to it, just hands keeping time. On and on he watched, the same goddamned placid expression. It seemed clear to me that he was watching the second hand, that there was a consequence to the destination it was about to reach. And fucking Celine’s still singing in his ear a song of transmigration. He looks up finally from the watch, but it’s too late: TERROR. All over me. I’m thinking, I have to get the fuck out of here. My station is next but it’s not NOW. A part of me is telling myself, You know you’re acting like a fucking lunatic right now, right? The rest still hears Celine, still fears…something. The train reaches the station and the doors open. I rocket from the car and up the escalator. Only when I’m above ground, on the street, do I feel any relief, followed by the acceptance of what the fear was really about: a family member currently in pain, far away, and the helplessness of not being there, of not being able to offer some kind of comfort.