Thursday, May 24, 2007


I got lost along the way, and feel so far from you all. A steady job has only amplified how aimless I can be, and I feel like I've let a few people down, especially in this birthday season. So assuming I have the promised day off this week, I'll try to make up for a little of my absence, though without gifts. I'm working on the gifts.

While waiting for the train to start its journey back to brooklyn, a loud, bearded black man moves into my car. He wouldn't come across as a bum if he wasn't dragging the enormous trash bag of cans he flung into the car with him. A bag of plastic bottles and cans is always fun because its size contradicts its light weight, and can make its bearer seem more powerful to those who've never seen a line at the local supermarket deposit redemption machine. This guy was yelling non-stop, and getting more and more agitated with each passenger who changed cars. I was closest to him, about three feet away, but he was berating someone else down the other end of the car. Maybe he didn't mind me because I wasn't leaving, and I'm not sure which of the reading/ipodding passengers he hated. Yes, he said he hated that person, and occasionally went into little history lessons about the spanish, puerto rican origins, and J-Lo. When he saw a rat across the platform, he told of how he picks through trash, and never got bit by a rat, except by a baby rat when he was trying to help it. Once the car filled up before heading under the river, he moved between cars, and eventually got into some sort of altercation with some folks in the next car. When we pulled into the next station, he returned to my car rambling about MTA supervisors, and then he turned and looked. I knew immediately what he was looking at, and what he would do, maybe before he knew himself. Then, he did it. He said, "this is an emergency!" and opened the emergency brake box, and pulled the cord. A pneumatic hiss came from under the car, and a collective groan sputtered out of the mouthes of all who were trying to get home. Some got out figuring they would just walk the rest of the way. The man took his cans, and got off the train. He started yelling at the guys in the next car while timid white kids whined at him, "hey you're holding everything up," as they walked to the street exit. I just sat there. I could see him walking and ranting and occasionally jumping up and down and flailing his arms around. The mexican-looking man across from me stayed asleep. A lesbian couple sat down next to me. I stayed put and waited for the police. The conductor, wearing hearing protection headgear, walked onto the car, and with some sort of key, released the emergency brake, and left. I figured there was probably a law of some sort against pulling the emergency brake, but the doors soon closed, and we were on our way, the man left alone on the platform with his cans. He could have easily jumped back on the train.


Blogger Charles K. said...

Very existwential.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Charles K. said...

Very existential, rather.

4:13 PM  

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