Friday, March 13, 2009

Subway Shorts

90% of the time we use the subway to move around the city. Here are some of my most memorable moments on the subway – no photos so you’ll just have to hang in there without visual aids.

5. See the Christmas 2008 blog for details – but here is the short version: good singer, acoustic guitar, “Happy Christmas” by John Lennon, and Macy’s windows…enough said.

4. Friend of Bill – you may or may not know that if you are a ‘Friend of Bill’ you are most likely a member of AA or at least know a member of AA. One afternoon I was on the subway and it wasn’t too crowded, at one stop an older gentleman boarded the train and sat down across from me – he was dressed in a disheveled suit and worn out dress shoes. He looked like someone that was just down on his luck, he was trying to dress nicely but you could tell it was probably a suit he had for a very long time or something from Goodwill that didn’t fit quite right. I gave him a smile, just to be nice and show that I respected him even if he wasn’t dressed to the nines – I appreciated his effort. Well that did it, at that point he said something to me and I couldn’t hear him. I just smiled and shrugged – well then he proceeded to yell “are you a Friend of Bill”. I smiled and shake my head ‘no’ hoping the conversation would end with that. But no, again he yells “it’s code”. I shake my head “yes” and luckily I’m at my stop so I quickly nod goodbye and head off the train. It just cracks me up that he felt the need to let me know he was talking in “code” – I’m thinking maybe he was at the early stages of his program or maybe veered off track a bit. That’s what I get for trying to be nice.

3. Michael and I were riding the subway downtown one weekend, at a stop this crazy wild man dressed in a costume of black pants and a puffy white shirt boards the train with some kind of suitcase contraption. It turns out the suitcase is a little table – he sets it up in the middle of the subway car and starts to perform magic tricks. The entire time he is dashing up and down the car and yelling things either in a foreign language or maybe he was using special words to conjure up his magic. It was fascinating in that car crash kind of way, you didn’t want to make eye contact but you wanted to see what he was doing. Well of course at one point he notices I’m watching the show – he comes right in front of me with a covered metal dish. He shows me and everyone in the area the dish is empty, he covers the dish and hands me a “magic” wand. He then tells me to tap the dish with the wand, when I tap the dish he shouts out a few “magic” words, opens the dish and out flies a small bird! The bird lands right in his hand and the show is over. Well we had to give him a dollar for that level of entertainment (in general I usually will give a dollar to the performers but not the people that just come through the cars with a hand out – I feel like they need to work for the money). I always wondered what I would do if I was on the subway and it was like the movie “Borat” and someone pulled a chicken out of a suitcase – hopefully this is the closest I will come to that situation. It certainly was unexpected (and yes, I let out a little screech when the bird came flying out of the dish).

2. Yet another time Michael and I were riding the subway. The train was mildly crowded, meaning all of the seats are full and some people were standing in the aisle. A young man entered the car from one end, walked to the middle of the car and turned on a boom box. He then proceeded to do dance/gymnastic moves in the aisle of the car. He was flipping upside down and flipping sideways using the poles and overhead bars. It was awesome, he had incredible upper body strength – I’ve never seen anything like it. He even got a round of applause when he his performance ended.

1. This happened pretty soon after I moved to NYC - it was a Friday night and I was meeting Michael to go out after work. I got on the train and it was relatively crowded, I was standing in the back corner and there was a gentleman right next to me. He was obviously mentally challenged (he had the look and he was wearing his ID and subway card in a pouch around his neck). At one point I smile at him just to be friendly (you would think this incident would have cured me of trying to be nice to people on the train – but no….) Well that of course was an open invitation for him to start talking to me. Next thing you know he tells me he has something to show me (uh oh – I’m a little concerned at this point, you know it isn’t anything good) and he starts fumbling around the inside pocket of his jacket. He pulls out a plastic badge with a pair of golden boobs and it says “Boob Inspector”. Wow, awesome – this is a great city…..thankfully it was my stop and I hustled out the door. (And even if it wasn’t my stop you know I would have been off that car so fast – there was no good end to that conversation.)