Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pushing The Old Lady

[originally written on 5/12, in NYC]

Being in New York City for these past few days, surrounded by lots of people who've never lived here--and a few who've never left--led to a number of conversations in which I described the pivotal life-moment in which I realized that I not only should no longer live here, but could no longer live here. At least not if I wanted to retain even a scrap of humanity.

[I may well have told this story before, but I'm too damned lazy to look back through the archives to see. Sue me. Or ignore me. Or both.]

It was a sweltering summer day--and if there is one place that defines the word sweltering, that demands the word sweltering, it is the New York City subway system in mid-summer. The acrid scent of urine filled the air. I was waiting in line to buy tokens, and sweating my...well, I'd say I was sweating my balls off, but since I don't have any, you'll have to fill in the blank here.

The token line that day was so long that I began my wait on the subway stairs; by the time I'd reached the front of the line, it had been at least ten minutes. Which is a particularly long time when you're in Hell, you know.

So perhaps I can be allowed a twinge of annoyance when an elderly--nay, ancient--lady came tottering from the other side of the station, in a black veil and long black dess that made me hotter just looking at it, and stepped right in front of me to try to ask the subway attendant a question in extremely broken English. Certainly, I had a right to tap her on the shoulder and indicate the line of drooping people in front of whom she'd just cut.

But I'm pretty sure--no, I'm certain--that I had no business responding, when she narrowed her eyes at me only briefly and then went back to her conversation, by shoving her aside without another word and placing my $10 on the counter while shouting, "End of the line, lady. End of the line."

I shoved an old lady. I SHOVED and then YELLED AT an OLD LADY. An old lady WHO DIDN'T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE. There is simply no excuse, not even now, more than a dozen years later.

Six months after that incident, I got an offer to move to Los Angeles, and grabbed it. I knew I'd be fine here. Road rage. HAH. It's got nothin' on subway insanity.

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