September 28, 2005

September Subway Story

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2005

The homeless man wore a NY Mets t-shirt and black dress shoes three sizes too big. He wasn't wearing any socks. He stood in the middle of the subway and pleaded with everyone. In a raspy voice, he gave his thirty second sales pitch and then went through the car jingling a plastic cup. The subway was about half full and as he walked from one side to the other, he's keep saying, "Have a good day!"

He didn't get anyone to donate. Not one cent. After collecting no spare change, he stopped in his tracks and out of sheer frustration, he turned around to address the rest of the passengers. He screamed, "Fuck you! Have a bad day! Maybe someone should ship your ass to Louisiana."

He left as a young Russian girl in a tight tank top fumbled around with her map of New York City. I could see characters written in Russian and she kept flipping it over looking for a specific place. She was good looking enough that I considered offering her my assistance.

A twenty-something guy in an ugly olive green suit read the New York Times and tapped his foot on the floor of the subway. An empty plastic bottle of Diet Pepsi would bounce off his foot depending on how fast the train was going. When it would stop, the bottle would thrust forward towards the middle of the car.

Another young woman about half my age was busy trying to keep her baby from crying. The guy in the suit seemed oblivious to the bottle and the crying baby, that's when I realized he was listening to an iPod.

"Crack! Snap!"

I turned to my left and saw an elderly black woman with a big piece of bubble wrap. She started popping all of them in two second intervals. After the first seven or eight snaps, I got annoyed. The baby started crying louder. The Russian girl frantically studied her map. The suit tapped his foot and turned the page of his newspaper.

"Snap! Snap!"

About five minutes and two stops later, the bubble wrap lady appeared to stop. That's when she pulled out another piece out of her bag.

"Snap! Crack! Snap!"

I wanted to lean over and snatch the bubble wrap out of her hands and stomp on it. I stood up and glared at her as I walked into the next car. As I searched for a seat in the new car, the homeless man was at the tail end of his spare change collection and yelled out, "All you cheap motherfuckers need to get shipped to Louisiana!"

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

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