the time has come that i have to jiggle my big behind in different subway cars and metro buses. i might as well quit paying rent and start washing up in the public bathrooms and changing in pub stalls. i am also running out of books to read, and i am singlehandendly raising Barnes & Noble stock. but that is enough of a rant.
actually i wanted to describe several snippets of subway life that have such a distinctive NY flavor (and odor), and that really stand out even in my own jaded eyes. and possibly get off my chest this i-have-to-blog guilty feeling.
1. got on #6 train. found a whole empty seat next to a little guy in the corner. dunno why i did not take it. then the other seat became free and i took that. there was no smell or anything, but the little guy sitting in the corner was crouched and looked like he had peed on himself. as i watched closer, it appeared that he had indeed, peed on himself. ugrrh. as he got out to leave, i saw the puddle he left behind and i was very glad i did not sit next to him. then a beefy guy sat on there so fast, i did not have time to do nothing else but watch his face switch from the joy of an empty seat to the wet embarrassment and fervent prayer “please let it be water, please let it be water, please let it be water”.
2. #2 at allerton, the crowd that gets in is mainly black and latino peppered with an albo face here and there. then it gradually balances out as the train goes into the West Side only to turn into Wall Street WASPS on the Lower West Side, and then into cool poor artists pale and dark again as I switch on Atlantic Ave to the #q. they change for a different type of people. several are wearing distinctive avgani/pakistani garb and mix in with the orthodox hebrews and high maintenance russians or heart-shaped face ukrainians. and of course, the token albo guy, who turns out to be a superintendent on 14th street. who would have thunk it? (as my friend doris used to say)
3. there is always one single native indian or guatemalan indian playing those strange pipes and trying to hustle his CD-s to unsuspecting passerbys and tourists. if he could only lay off Simon and & Garfunkel, he’d have probbably sold some. and if he actually knew how to play those darned things, instead of posing there with a poncho and a scruffy dog.
4. there is a 300yrs old violinist on the tunnel at 42nd street times square, who can barely hold on to his violin. yet he plays and even makes enough quarters to do his laundry. of course you’d have to get so close you can see his toupee is too big for his head, in order to hear the music. but he plays on.
5. at the #f train, i fell asleep on my feet like a horse, one hand hanging from the overhead metallic rail, the other holding my huge bags (i dunno why i drag them around, it is not as if i am trying to compensate for something). so this gentle black man felt sorry and gave me his seat. i smiled gratefully and i promptly went to sleep, waking up once again next to a very irritated babushka. apparently i’d been using her generous arm for a pillow. oh well, at least it was not a man this time.
6. on my long ride to stillwell ave and back, i experienced: two people asking for change so they could call their families, one band of three mariachi, two black guys beating on those drums and preaching love for their brother man (one of them winked at me), one overripe homeless werewolf who did not even bother to speak, three chinese women and one man selling bootleg dvds and batteries (batri on dola, batri on dola), two candy sellers (have you noticed that their spiel has changed from school charities to their own favorite charity, themselves?) and a very pregnant woman who refused to sit on my seat when i offered and kept on throwing me dirty glances throughout the 25 min ride we took together. so much for my good deed of the day.
oh, i ran out of steam. my thighs are still jiggling though.