With another fare hike looming, I’ve come to the conclusion that my disdain for the MTA will never prevent the fare from climbing. I don’t like the idea of a fare hike; I can hardly afford to pay for the monthly MetroCard now and the train service is horrid, at best. Thoughts of investing in a pink unicycle have crossed my mind, but I think my neighbor’s motorized wheelchair would suffice. Despite my repugnant feelings towards the MTA and its monopolization on New York City transportation, I still prefer to travel through the City beneath the surface — away from the novel CitiBikes, the yellow cabs of death, and the slow-as-fuck busses.
There’s always the chance that you just might stumble onto an adventure or a crazy story on the subway. Take the incident on the F train, for example; no one could have predicted that situation would have escalated as quickly as it did. Whether you deem the man who was involved to have been wrong for smacking a woman doesn’t matter — just bear in mind that if either party had taken a cab or bike home, there never would have been an altercation. Additionally, a video would have never gone viral, and Ray Rice would currently be a lock for winning the 2014 Pimp Slap of the Year award. So that means that the subway is the fun way to get around New York!
I’ve had wonderful experiences in the subway that range from the morbid (watching a man die) to the miserable (being arrested)…and that was only this year! You’re own experiences, like swiping the MetroCard more than once, is unique, I’m sure, but it’s the people around you that make it one-of-a-kind.
Perhaps you’ve seen all the regulars like the adults with children, the homeless, and kids selling candy for team uniforms, dancers, musicians, and poets. More specifically, have you seen the skinny black old man without shoes or socks on the A and C lines? How about the homeless teenager with the dog he claims he loves on the J, M, and Z lines? Is he still around? There’s many, many more.
Coming across these people is like watching a rerun of your favorite television series, only it’s an episode you’ve seen one too many times. You’ve heard the dialogue so much that you’ve memorized it, and that makes the journey to and from home pretty dull. But every now and then you discover a few new individuals that make you smile.
A couple of weeks ago I was coming home from Silent Barn, where I attended the Invasion of the Stickers, a graffiti sticker art show in Bushwick. I had just gotten into Manhattan at the Delancey station via the J train and was transferring to the F train, which is now infamous for hosting the Eight Ball Jacket Fiasco I referenced earlier. That’s when I saw the woman of my bizarre dreams. She was dressed in Santa’s red long johns with a humongous stomach that hovered over an overwhelming amount of pubic hair.
“Hey, this one is kind of cute,” said the woman as she approached me. “Sit on my lap!” Before I declined the invitation to sit down I focused on her piercing brown eyes, deep in character, disguising, for a swift second, a hint of despair. For that moment I felt a performance artist’s fear, coming from the disapproval of their first endeavor in the subway — rejection. It was that seductive sensation of pity that kept hope alive in her eyes that I would bend over and that my ass would, ever so slightly, land on her lap. It wasn’t happening, so she moved on (like the rest of the women in my life) and found a sucker who would take a seat. Once the guy got done sitting on Santa’s lap he had to pay up. There’s a sucker born…
Nearly ten hours later I’m heading to work and as I’m waiting for the train, the universe introduces me to this paradoxical spiritual guru, who just finished having a mental breakdown in 2013 — after working on fucking Wall Street — and he gives me a fist bump, takes a sip from his small bottle of Jack Daniels, and that’s where the verbal diarrhea began.
I never got his name, so I’m going to call him Spunky. Spunky was dropping all these metaphysical jewels on me regarding peace, love, and injustice in the world, only he gave them a perverse, misogynistic twist. It didn’t help that he lacked compassion and tolerance, either.
Once we boarded the train, Spunky, a tall lanky guy in his mid-20’s, sat by an old homeless man whose face appears to question universe’s motive for keeping him alive. I’m positive one of his daily thoughts includes a question that echoes the words, “Why am I still here?”
As Spunky pointed at the homeless man next to him, he moved in closer and put his arms around him. “This is my father,” said Spunky with the sincerest tone of voice. “I have nothing else to say.” For a brief minute, neither did I. I couldn’t laugh, because I knew Spunky was trying to be genuine. Coming from him, though? It was bullshit.
After that, he moved on to calling all women stupid for shopping and not being open-minded about having free-spirited sex with him, and condemning anyone who isn’t awake – it was bullshit! Yes, I expected to hear Spunky regurgitate The Theory of Everything, spiritually, but it took the focus of a man trying to stop early ejaculation for me not to laugh at the homeless man’s reaction. It was priceless! The look on his face read, “This is what my life has come to? I’ve sucked dick for money, and now this delusional motherfucker says I’m his father? Kill me now!”
Coming home from work that night, a woman approached me at the Times Square station to ask if I believe in Jesus Christ. You can’t tell me the subway isn’t fun.