What did I just witness?

So, I was walking down Broadway here in lower Manhattan, and saw a lady writing on a piece of cardboard about how she’s homeless and needs help, etc.

Terribly sad, for sure.

But something hit me.

Had she been homeless for a while now, and just updating her sign as a means of requesting donations?


…what if I witnessed a human being on their first day of being homeless – having just given up her last-ditch attempts at continuing to live in the place she had called home that very morning?

…what if that was the very moment she resigned herself to having to take to the chilly streets of Manhattan, and relying upon the kindness and spare change of strangers?

…what if, she’d spent the day wandering around the city, and had just chosen that spot, on this windy, busy, thoroughfare, as her new perch for the indefinite future?

I find that possibility completely horrifying.


A capella, train performers, and tourists

images10.jpgOn my way home from work on Thursday or Friday on the R train, three “Gentlemen of Color” (presumably “should be” “called” “African-Americans” but I don’t know if they originate from Africa or South America{making them American-Americans, I believe} or somewhere else altogether), got on the train and were collecting money in exchange for some delightful gospel music, a capella style. Their cheerfulness and joviality, combined with my obsession with a capella music, led me to silently join in adding (still silently) crucial harmony missing without the typical fourth member that any respectable group (Backstreet Boys, N*s*y*n*c, etc.) would have. (I laughed when I listed them as respectable groups, too.)

See, I, being a native, am accustomed to these periodic interruptions by dancing troupes, drummers, violinists, Mariachi bands, and, if one is lucky, an Asian person playing an unidentifiable musical instrument I have never seen before. Most tourists are highly unprepared for these unexpected intrusions of their personal space. On this particular day, there were two such Asian tourists (most likely a father & daughter combo) in my car when the impromptu church choir began. They started laughing hysterically, completely red in the face and unsure what to do.

This story has no ending, really. It was just funny to me.

If you see something, keep it under your hat.

If you see something, say something.Every once in a while, you’re sitting on a train, and you notice an unattended bag sitting underneath a seat. The first reaction is OMG the signs say I should say something if I see something!! But you ignore it. You have to get where you’re going and you’ll get killed by 10,000 people if you report it. They’ll stop the train and hold up every other train in the tri-state area. This sort of disruption will not help you win a spot on the city council, fine sir. Some might say, “What if it really is a bomb?” It’s not a bomb, stupid. It’s some idiot’s groceries or some chubby fellow’s gym clothing. Throwing off the whole train system and alerting every bomb sniffing dog in the continental United States so some lucky MTA employee can happen upon a few cantaloupes or some guy’s smelly jock strap is just plain wrong. We all stare at it, looking at everyone else on the train notice and sort of shrug sheepishly, because they have to get to their job at some high-powered firm or man the counter at some fast food establishment. Call the cops? Nobody has ever bombed the NYC subway before and guess what. That little Duane Reade bag won’t be the first, no matter how badly you want to be the hero. So I say sit down Ms. Go-getter. Just because some silly yutz might miss his bag of Cheetos doesn’t mean everyone else should miss their doctor’s appointments or weekly excursions to his or her favorite lady of the evening. That sort of selfishness should not and will not be tolerated.

This seat taken?

Three SeaterTwo large people bookending a three seater on the subway and some tremendous monster, typically dressed in sweats stolen from a family member that left to fight for the Confederate Army and never returned, gestures as though they’d like to squeeze in. The two larger folk stare up, dumbfounded that this hippopotamus is going to test the physics of the subway seat. I have no clue what the weight limit is, but I doubt they intented for a rhino, elephant and recently beached whale to share the row. What’s even worse is when you have one guy sitting in the center seat of the three human chair, but he has his legs spread open so wide, it seems like a Lamaze coach and a midwife should be on hand for the impending delivery. Problem is, the guy always looks as though he just stabbed a baby, a puppy and his elderly grandmother. All at once. With a really long knife, apparently. So you can’t ask him to pick a frikkin’ side. I won’t, anyway.

Train Coughers

CougherTrain coughers never get off after one stop. You know them. They’re the people who can’t stop hacking up chunks of lung tissue for long periods of time. The people who keep coughing into the same rapidly deteriorating public bathroom-issue paper towel. No Charmin Ultra for this gal. She’s sand paper tough. They’ll be there to wave as you get off at your stop. Anyone with a potentially contagious malady is on board for the duration. As opposed to the ridiculously attractive gal who, invariably, is packing up her hot girl stuff and leaving you alone on the train with creeps and the local branch of the Incontinent Club of America.