Monday, April 13, 2009

Self-love on the A train

After moving to the city many years ago, I found myself waiting on a crowded 14th street subway platform waiting for the uptown A train. My destination was Hell's Kitchen, and I was looking for work. I was flipping through the Daily News when the train pulled in. I was still flipping through the paper when I stepped into the subway car. When I looked up, I was confused. Everyone that had entered before me was crammed to the the front of the car, leaving the rear virtually for one guy.

Sitting in the small seat by the door, was an urban outdoorsman (translation: bum). Ordinarily, I maintain a "live and let live" philosophy. That tenet was sorely test, however, as the crusty gent had made himself comfortable...VERY comfortable. His pants were down to his knees, and he was, to put it delicately, rubbing one out (stroking the bishop, flogging the log, spanking the monkey, choking the chicken, etc). Amazingly, the other occupants of the car were trying hard to pretend not to notice. I, on the other hand, lost my friggin' mind.

"Are you people fucking kidding? " (I started handing parts of the paper out to people to shield themselves from any possible release of bum seed) "Jeez, at least protect yourselves!" No one refused this small offering of protection. In fact, it seemed to both ease their fears and stimulate their disgust at the same time. "Dude, you're a fucking animal!" said one strap hanger. "That's gross, man. Get off the train!!!" said another. A small, elderly woman, apparently of Eastern European descent (complete with babushka) stepped forward and, using the soothing tones of a grandmother offered, "I hope you die, you bastard!!!" before spitting on the floor at his feet.

The guy was now trying diligently to ignore the crowd as we travelled through the underbelly of the city. He had kicked it into overdrive and was pumping his fist like a man possessed, but to no avail. The car was on the verge of riot. Something metallic flew over the crowd and hit the wall by his head. It was quickly followed by coins, keys, pens, batteries and what I believe was a half-eaten slice of cheese pizza. It was like "bat day" at Yankee stadium in the 70's.

This broke the mood of self-gratification as the train rumbled into the station, apparently. When we came to a stop, he stood up and shuffled off onto the platform, shocking the riders waiting there. And no, he didn't even bother to pull his pants up. He merely held the waist band and went off in search of a quieter place...with his junk still dangling. "This city sucks" said the unsatisfied gent, "ya can't get any privacy."

True dat, my friend, you can never find a quiet subway train on which to beat your meat anymore. The city ain't what it used to be...WTF???

epilogue: I didn't realize it til I got off the train at the next stop, but I never got any of my newspaper back from the people on the train. I learned a lesson that day. From now on, I'll save the 50 cents and let the rest of the train get Hep C...bunch of ungrateful ass-clowns.

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