Things to do while waiting for the train, and your phone has run out of battery, and you forgot to bring a book along

  1. Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse — which group you’ll join, who gets thrown at the zombies to buy your group time to escape.
  2. Eat a chocolate from the vending machine.
  3. Think about that novel you’ll write one day — the one that you know won’t be a bestseller, but that doesn’t matter because you just want to put the story out into the world, because it’s too beautiful to keep just inside yourself.
  4. Make a list of your enemies. Discover you don’t actually have any.
  5. Make a list of people who annoy you. Discover that list is quite long.
  6. Fall in love — the stranger waiting on the same platform, that you’ll never see again, but their eyes glanced your way just long enough, and you’re both wondering what can happen if either one of you says hi, but neither will. And that shared knowledge is almost more perfect than actually being together can ever be.
  7. Plan the perfect murder. Find yourself smiling. Stop smiling.
  8. Think of something elaborate and exotic you can cook for dinner, the preparation of which will take an hour, and require ingredients from all over the world, that are available at the Coles near your house. Know that the preparation of this will be a meditative exercise, and as you dice and fry and taste and adjust, the day’s stresses will evaporate off your skin, and that first bite will be akin to an artist’s sigh when setting aside their brushes upon completion.
  9. Wonder when you stopped noticing the smell from the crawlspace.
  10. Know you’ll just order pizza instead.
  11. Make a mental reminder to check the soundproofing in the basement. And to clear out the drains.
  12. Remind yourself to buy the laundry detergent, toiler paper, and bleach, knowing you’ll definitely forget one of the three.
  13. You really should check the basement. And the locks on the door.
  14. Smile at that person, because the train’s coming now, and what’ve you really got to lose.
  15. Notice them smiling back.

Sami Shah is a writer and comedian. His latest novel “Fire Boy” is out now. You can find information on his other works, and upcoming live shows at