February 01, 2005



On Saturday, I rode the downtown 6 with a UHO representative who was kinda Desert-Storm-pundit crossed with Mr. T. playing a tsunami aid worker. He harangued us for ten minutes, which is a long time in subway years. “If there was one thing you shoulda learned on 9/11, it’s that you’re here one second and then, the next minute, you’re gone. I was addicted to crack for twenty years and I threw those years away. As with the tsunami, you also should have been reminded also of your precious life and death. Anyone that wants a sandwich, I also give them a dollar. I don’t turn away. I challenge any of you to do what I do. I see some of you don’t agree with me. Well, asses come in all colors—red, white, black, Chinese, whatever. Yeah, birds of a feather do seem to talk together. I see you down there. What the hell. If you came to this country and you don’t like what you’re being offered, then get the hell out. And those who were born here and don’t contribute, you can take them the hell with you.”

That night, I was foolish enough to take the A to Jay Street, where I foolishly planned to catch the F. I waited with extreme foolishness for close to half an hour. A young man, no more than seventeen, came up and asked if the F was running. Based on nothing, I foolishly said yes. He wore all black and had a small diamond cross stud in his left ear. He spoke like someone who spends much of his time sitting in pews.

“I have to get to my cousin’s sweet sixteen,” he said, sounding more worried about his cousin than himself. Few kids his age feel empathy, much less express it. When the train came, he crossed himself and told me to have a good night. I loved him.

Today was a perfect storm of style. On the uptown 1, I sat across from an Eleanor Friedberger doppleganger reading a wrestling magazine and eating Starburst. Before the doors closed at Chambers Street, a Pimp™ from central casting jumped onto the train: black alligators, loose link watch, mudslide shades. He kept zuzjing his pants and looking for a ballpoint pen that he would stow back in his pants the moment he found it. To keep everything gully, I was carry a huge envelope of MRI films with the word “BRAIN” written across the side in big Sharpied caps. It is not often that I get to join the parade.

When I got off at 14th Street, I saw a teenage couple leaning against a wall in total teensex bodylock. The boy said “I’m not gonna refurbish you” before I moved out of earshot. The final act was at the pharmacy. A Korean girl who spoke no English was selling Lotto tickets to a guy spitting the following game: “Do you like scary movies? Do you like Hot 97? Do you know where the Subway is around here? The sandwich?”

Posted by Sasha at February 1, 2005 05:45 PM | TrackBack