Sunday, March 1, 2009

Scenes from the Subway

The man jostled through the crowded subway car, eyeing the seat next to me.

"Can I sit here," he said. It's a statement more than a question.

My eyes firmly glued to my book, I moved an inch or two to the left-- I'm at the end of a row -- and I assume the person two seats over does the same. The man plopped down.

In between stations his right hand went to his inside coat pocket and he pulled out an aluminum can. I look up, though not at him.

"Keeps me calm," he said, presumably talking to me. I can smell the alcohol. "You know, all the lunatics."

Yeah, I know. I keep this to myself.

I couple of stops later he pulled out the can once more. He took a final swig and then crushed the can with his two bare hands. To his credit, I don't think he dropped it on the floor.

A few weeks ago Paul and I were riding the R train back from Ikea at maybe 9 p.m. In the corner of the subway car was a man asleep, spread out over two seats. Not unusual.

What was unusual? His unzipped pants and his hand resting on his crotch.

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