The following are true stories of experiences on NYC subways, buses, etc. They are from my currently unpublished book 72 People I’ve Met On The Subway.
If you don’t laugh, I will refund your money & then come to your house and tickle you to make up for it.
5. !#@* #a$ #!%@$
I got on the train at what was the first (and last) stop on this line. There were about seven or eight people in the car.
The seat I chose was next to another 30-something. He was wearing a Mets baseball cap and slowly downing a diet soda.
And he made this noise as he looked at me: “Ep!”
I thought perhaps he was being, in some way I could not comprehend, funny.
He drank more soda. And he soon made the noise: “Ep!”
The conductor sounded the “doors closing” warning (for non-New Yorkers: this is a “ding-ding” sound which, as a “warning” is ineffectual since it sounds while the doors close – watch your hands, people, them bitches close fast and hard!).
And the guy did it again: “Ep!”
So, at that moment, I had to wonder, was this some sort of a hiccup or maybe an odd belch?
I tried not to look at him. Maybe he was nuts. Maybe he was waiting for me to look — that’s all the excuse this nebbish with glasses wearing a Mets baseball cap needed to take out a steak knife and strike his blade through the heart of a man who was just leisurely reading an issue of Us Weekly perhaps one seat too close for this guy’s comfort.
“Ep!” he said with conviction.
I looked again. He seemed like a nice guy…a Mets fan, but still a nice guy.
“Hey,” I said, “you all right?” The question was false concern to be sure. If you read between the lines, what I was really saying was, “What’s your freakin’ problem, Professor Peabody?! You need attention that badly?”
He explained simply, “I have Tourette’s.”
My tone of slight derision immediately changed to one of true interest and concern (the shameful embarrassment of my previous thoughts apparently well-concealed). He continued to explain that noises set him off, and he needs to imitate them when he hears ’em. His “Ep!” was a sort of coping mechanism — see, he says that rather than shouting “ding-ding!” (given the choice, a perfectly logical decision). The soda helps to distract him as well.
One more thing I learned: Apparently most people do indeed think he’s nuts or, oddly, purposefully trying to bug them.
What kind of callous person would think such things? I dunno.
What I do know is that the next time I find myself at Shea Stadium, I’m gonna make sure I give a mighty “Ep!” to the home team.
The Pretty Latina
Men are never innocent. With each of the encounters with women as detailed herein, there’s always the sliver of hope that, you know, I’m gonna get some.
Of course some situations call for a bold tactic – sadly, as it turns out, this was not one of those situations. Luckily, I wasn’t the rube giving it a go.
Across from me sat an attractive Latina woman in her attractive work clothes.
A young black man, drinking a Snapple, tugging on his too-big jeans, sat down next to her, his knee touching hers, his torso turned toward her a little. He mumbled something to her about the CD she was holding – clearly purchased on a street somewhere for just a couple of bucks. Whatever he said elicited a shrug for a response.
He looked over to her a few more times, polished off his pink lemonade, and kept his eyes diverted toward her the whole time (as if, what, she was going to shout “I love pink lemonade Snapple! Let’s go back to your crib and get nasty, yo!”). His drink finished, his spirit crushed, he left.
Off her frustrated look – and impatiently bouncing leg – I smiled at her, saying “He only chatted you up a little.” She shook her head and smiled.
Not two minutes later, another young black guy sat down next to her. She and I exchanged glances and smirked. But this guy had game.
Immediately, he asked her about the CD she was holding, asked her if a certain song was on it, asked what track that song might be. She told him he should consider buying the CD (to his credit, he pulled out some cash, offering her a twenty). He got a smile out of her, but she wasn’t biting, and he wasn’t letting up. I began watching intently – rather than subtly – letting him know someone was paying attention.
He kept pushin’ for something to happen and she looked at me with a “Can you believe this guy?” look. I leaned in and said to the eager young gentleman, “Hey, you gotta forgive her…you’re like the third guy” – exaggerating for effect – “tryin’ to pick up on her in that spot.”
He looked at me inquisitively then thought it over…when the train came to a stop, he stood, shaking his head – and his shoulders in tandem – and stated loudly, “Well, if she’s got an attitude, I don’t want no part of that.” And he left, changing cars.
The pretty Latina, the women to my left and I all looked to one another. I volunteered, “I dunno…I was the one mouthing-off…I thought I had the attitude.”
But this all became a bigger conversation with us folks still on the train. We debated why she couldn’t get a moment’s peace. I thought it was not only because of her looks, but that she was sitting facing a large subway window, one where every horny NYC guy could see her as the train pulled in.
One woman tossed out the idea, “What would happen if you were in that seat?” I explained simply, “I’d’ve had to tell him he wasn’t my type.”
Then an older gentleman thought we should make the car a singles car. This seemed great, and we all discussed the merits of this. Why, they shouldn’t even call it the Subway, they should call it the LuvWay. (I’m a genius I tell you.)
And then there were my slogans: “The Luvway — where a dingy, urine-soaked tunnel crawling with rats and homeless people is a pathway to love!” and “Your Metrocard, a down-payment on free groping.”
Seriously, I should be getting paid for this.