Friday, April 16, 2010

Subway Adventures in New York

Most subway rides are ho-hum, nothing special. I usually get a seat right away and immerse myself in a good book. I don't bother my co-passengers. They don't bother me.

Lately there's been a few exceptions. To wit:

I boarded the train after work last week. No problems until a couple of stops later. Between the second and third stops, the lights went completely out in our car. I few seconds later, the train jerked forward into the station. Then the doors wouldn't open.

OK. I turned on my cell phone's flashlight and kept reading until the subway workers herded us into a car where the door had been opened. Ten or twenty minutes and a couple of transfers later, and I was on my way home again.

Then something else strange happened. I noticed the guy sitting directly across from me kept glancing up. I doubt I would normally notice this, but I had just finished my book. Instead, I was listening to music, leaving my eyes free to wander. The guy kept looking up, then drawing on his sketch pad. He got off at the stop before me, so I can't be sure, but I think he was drawing me.

When I asked on Facebook if this was creepy or flattering, most people voted for creepy. I tend to think it was neither. I've seen these artist-types on the subway before, and the drawings I've seen them do aren't half bad. I only wish I could've seen what he produced.

In any case, it wasn't nearly as creepy as something that happened a few weeks ago. I had just swiped my MetroCard and was making my way to the platform when something about the man standing against the wall about 15 feet to my left caught my eye. Something about the way he was moving. What is he ... wait ... is he masturbating? I was momentarily shocked but kept on walking. Did I just see what I thought I saw?

I'll never know, but on St. Patrick's Day I had something to compare it to. As the subway rolled into my home station, I saw plain-as-daylight a guy standing against the wall taking a piss. No mistake about it this time. He was barely zipped up by the time the doors opened and people fled by. A ride and a show.

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