Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Adventures underground...

I have bad T karma.
I don't know why, but at point I angered the public transportation gods and I shall never again enjoy a peaceful ride on the T. I will post my experiences here, so that you can see that it cannot be a matter of happenstance but bad T karma.

Thursday, I boarded the Green Line heading towards Park Street. At the same time, a woman in her thirties and a man in his thirties, who clearly knew each other and were dressed for a day at the office, boarded the T and stood next to me. Next to the group of us was a very large man, dressed in hip-hop style. He did not feel the need to hang onto any o the hand rails, and so as the car moved, he kept bumping into the woman and her male companion. Eventually, the male companion says to the large man:
"You should hold onto something."
To which the large man responds:
"What for?"
And I think to myself:
"Here we go..."
First off, if someone is doing nothing to keep himself from bumping into you, and there is nothing preventing him from taking such action- chances are he doesn't care that he's bumping into you. Not because he hates you, but because he doesn't give a flying fuck about anyone else.
So the woman says:
"Because you keep bumping into me."
Large man: "Well then you shouldn't have gotten onto a college line train."
Woman: "But you could just hold onto that pole right there."
Large man: "You could've waited for an emptier train."
They go on back and forth like this a few times, until the large man says:
"Quiet down you big witch."
Male companion: "What did you say?"
Large man: "I said she's a big witch."
At this point I turned down the volume of my iPod so I could make sure I heard him right. He did, in fact, call her a "big witch." Now, I can't remember the last time heard anyone use this phrase except when referring to a Halloween decoration of unusual size. Why use such a thinly-veiled replacement for bitch? If you're already displaying your blatant disregard for the comfort and well-being of your fellow passengers, why stop short of swearing?
Large man: "I called her a big witch, what are you going to do about it?"
Male companion doesn't know what to do but before he responds Woman says:
"Whatever, he's not worth it."
Large man (daring Male companion): "Oh, no. You're worth it."
He gets off at the next stop, Copley, so the situation is automatically diffused. I assume the rest of the ride will be uneventful, but then I notice something...
Woman is crying.
Not full-on crying, but shaking and sniffing and wiping away tears from her eyes. She proceeds like this the entire way to Park Street.
This was the most confusing thing of all: Why was she crying?
Was she so terrified that this man might do something violent on a crowded subway car?
Was she seriously hurt because he had called her a big witch?
If any of these reasons are true, why say anything to the man in the first place?
If you know yourself to be that sensitive or non-confrontational, why not just move to another spot on the T? It wasn't so crowded that they couldn't have done this.
I couldn't help judging her. I couldn't help thinking:
"God, what a drama queen. Why not blow things completely out of proportion when it could get you some attention?"
That might not have been the reason. I have no way of knowing what the real reason was, or any of the reasons why this confrontation took place the way it did. So, there I was. 8:25am in the morning, so thoroughly annoyed with the woman who was crying on the T.

Friday, at Park Street. It is common for a musician to sit by the main support column on the platform in between the Red Line tracks and play songs for spare change. Sometimes it's a Latino fellow with a guitar playing the Cuban song "Guantanamera" and other similar sounding songs. Friday, it was a man who dresses like Sammy Davis, Jr. and sings along to karaoke tapes of Rat Pack classics. He is not the best singer. He's not the worst either. His voice sounds as if, after years of faithfully belting out "That's Amore!", it has had enough. It's raspy and strained, but strangely not entirely unpleasant.
Friday, he was singing "The Candyman can." from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
It struck me funny, but I did my best and didn't laugh. I came in at the tail end of the song. I was trying to guess what would come next...
"My Way"?
"Puttin' on the Ritz"?
But then he started "Candyman" over again. He got one verse into it, and then stopped it. I don't know what he chose next because the Red Line came. I wondered if he was adjusting his selection to suit the audience. Maybe at first we seemed like a "Candyman" kind of crowd, but then when we failed to get into it (which I'll never know how he could gage this) he had to switch gears. Another mystery at the MBTA.

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