So I’m sitting on the train from Long Island and eavesdropping on the three women seated in front of me – I can’t see them but they’re very loud. One of them begins Googling definitions for the words narcissist, Machiavellian and sociopath, to see if any of these terms applies to her. She reads everything aloud: “Narcissists are people who only think about themselves and who obssess over what they look like and who think they’re like, the whole universe – yeah, that’s pretty much me…if you’re Machiavellian you study other people and you figure out how to manipulate them – nah, I don’t really do that…sociopaths don’t understand the difference between right and wrong, or they don’t care about it…I’m not like, a total sociopath, maybe a little…”
As the conversation continued, I learned that this woman had children, and had been warned to avoid travelling on a certain flight, because someone else’s ex-wife would be onboard.
When the train arrived at Penn Station, the woman stood up: she was an attractive, blowsy, middle-aged blonde, and her companions were an older woman and a girl who looked about 14.