Thursday, September 14, 2006

Overheard On The Subway

Last night on my return home, a seated, balding guy suddenly held forth with the conviction of a street preacher*:

“Ladies and gentlemen, the announcers keep saying ‘if you see something, say something.’ This is complete garbage. Do not do it. It is not a bomb, it’s trash. Leave it for the cleaning crew in Coney Island. In all my 47 years of riding the subway, never once has it been a bomb – it’s always garbage. If you see a box or bag under the chairs, leave it for the cleaning crew in Coney Island. Do not call upstairs and have them tie things up by sending in a squad to look at it. It’s garbage.”

Then, after a brief silence, wherein most of the rest of us were trying to stifle giggles:

“Also, the street above us? Do not call it the Avenue of the Americas. It’s Sixth Avenue. It always has been, and it always will be. Even Mayor LaGuardia, a great man - he renamed it, later said ‘when I make a mistake, it’s a beaut.'”

After brief pauses, he continued to inform us that we shouldn’t call train lines by their colours (“It’s not the green line, it’s the 4, 5 6 – Lexington Avenue,”) and which line was built when under what president (“the line we are now on, the D, was opened in 1940; FDR was president”). Although I’m not sure what psychological impulse drove him to speechify this way (Asperger’s? Native New Yorker brio-cum-frustration?), I actually wished I was seated closer to him, as the increasing number of passengers drowned him out. Honestly, sometimes the crazies can make one’s day as much as disturb it.

*These quotes aren’t verbatim. Do I seem like a person with a photographic memory or who knows shorthand?

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