Sightings

Three random sightings and a thought on my way to work today.

Got on the train and immediately sensed a bad vibe. I quickly realized why no one was sitting on this side of the car. Sitting at the end was a man, probably in his 40s, who was not well. He was slouched over in his seat, but was moving. He slouched farther, almost falling out of the seat. Then he would sit up a bit, try to sip from a bottle of something, and slouch again. He did not stop moving. Once he got up and took a few shaky steps, but quickly returned to his seat.

As we stopped in each station, the car would fill up with more people. One woman sat beside me and leaned over toward me shaking her head and said, Drugs. Many would dash for the open seats, only to be disappointed that the seats were inside their crazy-man personal space (which, of course, is much larger than one's normal personal space). Most gave up the seats rather than risk it, but soon it was impossible for the newcomers to maintain a comfortable distance. One man sat right next to him and stayed there. I was amazed. I mostly feared that this man would yak all over the car. Luckily, he was fine for the duration of my ride. I wonder how many rides he took on the 1 train today.

At 103rd Street a bodybuilder sat across from me. I was simultaneously fascinated and sickened by this man's body. He must have just come from the gym because his muscles were bulging. His veins were popping out of his skin. One caught my eye on his inner arm right above the elbow. It twisted under his skin like the lazy Mississippi, making a tight 'S' pattern for about two inches up his arm. Back and forth it went. It was truly gross. Plus, he had the whole bronzing thing going on... nasty.

At 96th Street a tourist, with his map fully unfolded, leaned in our car and asked if this train goes to Times Square. Before anyone could answer, the doors closed on this man. Actually, they closed on his map. He tried to pull it from the door but it wouldn't come. He got the correct angle such that the map slid right out just before the train moved. I couldn't help but smile.

After 96th Street, the conductor got on the blower and said, Attention, this is the conductor speaking... This is rare. If one hears voices it is assumed by most to be the conductor, and the rest probably hear voices all the time. The conductor went on to tell us that the train was full and he would appreciate it if people would move to the center of each car. The response to this was nonexistent. No one budged. The people leaning on the doors remained there without missing a beat. This got me wondering whether anyone ever listened to the conductor and whether anyone would consider acting on his request. What a frustrating job that must be. No wonder they're always closing the doors on people and chiding them in front of an entire train full of people. Many a time I have heard a conductor yelling at someone over the speakers and I think to myself, there's someone in one of these cars that must be at least slightly embarrassed.

All that on my 15 minute ride to work...