A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Vill. Just Ask @PerfectEnigma, She Was There.
There’s just never a dull moment when riding New York’s public transportation… Those from the city, reading this, are nodding their heads in agreement right now- or shaking their heads in disapproving agreement. It’s so serious that we know which trains are rowdy-reckless at which times of the day. I know that the 6 train in the Bronx and Spanish Harlem, is dopefiend city, and their Town Square is the 125th Street station at the corner of Pathmark and Skid Row- more rush hour time, not at really night, the halfway house has a curfew. I know that the West Bronx trains ( the 4, the 2 and 5, not the D so much though) are just plain hood, weaves, dice games in the corner, yardyman Jamaican smoking in the last car, loud music…just a general ruckus… You might even spot some people having sex in the train, check youtube. You just don’t know (and won’t be surprised if it did *shrugs* It’s New York). There’s other things that people from here know about, like never take the L, J, 7 or G trains on the weekend, your ETA will double and there might be a shuttle bus involved. Oh yeah, also, the A, which is usually express in the daytime, runs local at night… But that’s ok though, because there’s Always some entertainment on it, doesn’t matter the hour, whether it’s The Doo Wop Bum Quartet, Crackhead Idol or MTA’s Next Tranny Model, there’s always something.
With know all this, I was thrown for a loop when I was taking the 1 train with my friend. Yeah, went to junior high school along the 1 line, but that was half a lifetime ago, nothing’s – deal with is really over there, so I had no intel to know how ridiculous this ride was going to be. We get on the train a 125 going downtown to 14th or so. As soon as we get in the train, we sit down and this puffy-faced shorts-wearing shater punk dopefiend bum starts ‘dialoguing’ with us. I say ‘dialoguing with’ and not ‘talking to’ because this dude just opened up a whole damn convo as if we were will participants in this madness: “Hey how you doing guys, where are you heading? I just got out of the hospital, I got hit by a car, but I’m doing better now. But my girlfriend just broke up with me, I’m doing ok though. I’m heading downtown” [F^cking WHOA!!] In true NYC fashion, we just looked at eachother and didn’t respond. I believe one of us said, “who the f^ck talks to strangers these days…?” We were about to find out. The trains doors open up at the next stop, people rush in on the bum’s side, he’s sitting at the seat closest to the door, there aretwo empty seats next to him then a woman sleeping at the last seat against the wall. A girl sits down next to the woman, she’s with a slightly effeminate white guy. The bum, let’s call him ‘Skeeter’ (yeah he looks like a Skeeter), offers to move some of his stuff so the guy could sit next to his friend. This should have been a red flag from the get-go, who sits that close to a bum? I mean, he wasn’t visibly filthy or smelly, but he was definitely unsavory and suspect. So the guy sits down, now all four of the seats are filled… Then Skeeter gets into his whole shpill again, he gave them the full-extended E! True Hollywood story. And this is where you lose me, they ACTUALLY replied… And offered up additional info. “Oh ok, we’re coming from our school” [Columbia Univ., by the way] “I’m from Ohio.” “I’m from California…” We shake our heads and mutter, ‘of course they are…’ This is not native behavior. Skeeter replies back to them, “I stay in Union Square.” Red flag #2. Me and my friend are done, there’s not an emoticon or twitter hashtag to accurately express the moment. In my finest used car salesman voice, “BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…” After taking some pills from out of a prescription bottle, Skeeter then offers to sell some packets of Five gum one of his ‘boys’ gave him. The girl politely declines, “oh, no thanks, I don’t eat gum,” then has an Eureka Moment and decides to trade him gum-for-peanuts. Now Skeeters chewing with his mouth open, talking about California current events… Then the girl gets off, we’re like ‘uhhht ohh she left man stranded,’ but he gets of the following stop. Now we’re the ones caught out there, I’m drinking my Nantucket Cran-Grape juice and I place it on the floor between drinks, Skeeter says, “you really shouldn’t waste that” *blank stare* He just needs a friend… One’s on the way. At 34th Street station this big TMNT-Bebop and Rock Steady/Bubba from Forresst Gump-looking black dude busted in oo the train, “is this motherfucking shit going to Brooklyn?” I’ma call him Charlie The Vet. Skeeter replies, “I don’t know, but I’m going downtown” Charlie: “I don’t give a fuck about where you’re going, I’m trying to get to Brooklyn.” Skeeter’s feelings were hurt, “ahh man, that’s mean, I’m homeless” Charlie: “I’m homeless too..” (They’re bonding.) Skeeter then offers Charle some peanuts and they wax on poetically about streetlife. They must have been parched from their snack because Charlie started accosting me about my Nantucket “You know that don’t need to go to waste, give that to us,” he says as the peanuts fly out of his mouth like Cookie Monster’s cookies. (The peanuts just fell to the floor, no projectile spewing..) Anyways, I’m like ‘What’ as Skeeter eggs on Charlie, “yeah, they’re rude, they ain’t even say hi when they came in…” Charlie needs no egging, he gets into a rant about his hair, “oh you think you fly because you got curly hair,” he whips of his hat, showing/rubbing his bald head, “I used to have curly hair back in the day…” My friend is dying now…we’re only at 23rd Street, two more stop. Longest ride ever. RED FLAG #3: when a peanut-spewing Vietnam Vet starts removing articles of clothing and fondly remembering the glory days while caressing himself, it’s time to get up and go.. And that’s just what we did.
I bet Charlie and Skeeter just faded off into sunset, trading pills and war stories… SMH Sent on the Now Network from my Sprint® BlackBerry