Subway Imitator

by Gabe Durham

On a body-thick summer subway ride, I heard a man imitate the subway for money. “The old subway cars, they went like this: Beeee-bo,” he said. I stood on my toes and tried to find him over the crowd. “The new ones sound like this: Ba-beeeeep. Make way for the closing doors please!” The beeps sounded pretty good and he projected well, but the voice scarcely resembled the electronic man. The imitator's segue to his sad life story was, “But what isn't funny…”

In college, my friend Marco used to do a perfect impression of the two staccato beeps an expensive car makes when you hit the lock button on your electronic key. Marco is doing well in business and the subway imitator is homeless, probably. The lesson: Imitate for the lifestyle you want, not the one you've got. Fifteen minutes a day, I work on my impression of the light squeak of a fine leather chair in contact with the body, ice cracking in top shelf scotch, a raising limousine partition, the soft moan of a woman so beautiful she needs only consider her own pleasure.