It’s Sunday and off in the distance a little, I can hear the church bells... I am not a Ken Burns fan but I am looking forward to viewing his series on the history our national parks (The National Parks: America’s Best Idea). For the first time in history of humankind, land was set aside for the pleasure of the common folk, and not just the aristocracy. Manifested in our parks is the vision of a society guided by the values we like to say we hold dear. For those of us who despise our government (We the People... ), perhaps it would worthwhile to watch this...
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-=[ Feeding the Demon ]=-
Fear: Fuck Everything And Run
The following is based on a true event, but it reminds of a story I read about a long time ago...
I took the train last night and, as is often the case on weekends, the NYC transit system is a complicated mess. Most of the construction and structural upgrades occur during the weekends, so trains are re-routed, stations by-passed and it’s almost impossible to keep track. As a result, there are usually mobs of clueless tourists moving about aimlessly in our transit system. Part of being a New Yorker is often adopting the duty of a de facto tour guide.
And so it was last night, when a rather attractive woman approached me for assistance. I assured her the oncoming train would take her to her destination (she and I were getting off on the same stop) and, as she struck up small talk, we got on.
As we entered, I felt immediately sensed something weird in the car. Everyone seemed tense and, sure enough, there was a person talking very loud, using profanity, and it had everyone ill-at-ease. As a New Yorker you learn to ignore such outbursts. Paying too much mind often serves to encourage unwanted behavior, so being able to ignore unusual behavior becomes second nature to most New Yorkers. Unfortunately, Tourist Lady wasn’t a New Yorker and she committed infraction no.1: she made eye contact with the individual, who seemed especially belligerent. I took her by the elbow, guiding her to a transit map with the outward intention of showing her where she should get off, Inwardly, I was also trying to deflect the unwanted attention she was eliciting. I hoped that this would help sever the connection between Belligerent Subway Dude and Pretty Tourist Lady would be broken.
She was pretty and Belligerent Dude, who was apparently drunk, asks Pretty Tourist Lady if she needs some assistance with directions. Pretty Tourist Lady (who’s not drunk, merely naïve), answers, in what could have been construed as a snobby dismissal, that no, she didn’t need help (and I believe she showed a little eye-roll to boot).
This, of course, sets Belligerent off who starts in on her, making comments about her that weren’t too nice. Naïve Tourist Lady, sidles over closer to me and realizes that she probably shouldn’t have paid any mind to Belligerent Dude because he’ drunk. Belligerent Dude thinks she is a snobby bitch.
Belligerent responds by talking about Pretty Tourist Lady's tits, her legs, I mean, he’s just going off on her, and I know she’s embarrassed. Out of the blue, from the other end of the car, a man yells out, “Shut the fuck up, already!” and Belligerent, as if on cue, goes off on that individual. In fact, he threatens the individual, who I shall call Capt. Save-a-Ho, with a severe “beat down.” Once Capt. Save-a-Ho realizes that he will have to exert more than bravado in order to handle Belligerent, he calms down a little, but Belligerent, who’s also a big dude, gets right in Capt. Save-a-Ho’s face and challenges him. Actually calls him a “fuckin pussy,” adding that he will “kick his motherfuckin ass” for good measure.
Capt. Save-a-Ho suddenly remembers the next stop is his and gets off. Of course, I’m sitting there hoping Belligerent finds something else to do, but fuckin Tourist Lady is still staring at him. So, Belligerent sits right across from us and continues his running commentary on Tourist Lady’s physical attributes. And I’m sitting there thinking that reading my book is all I want to do. And now, he’s starting to get on my nerves.
Finally, I tell Belligerent, “Listen man, why you gotta disrespect me like that? Can’t you see she’s with me? I mean, how would you like it if someone talked about your woman like that right in front of you? That shit ain’t right... ” I added a few choice words of my own and stared right into his eyes, hoping that my once vaunted “psycho” I-don't-give-a-fuck look hadn’t softened from lack of use, but it wasn’t working. Tourist Lady also chose this point in time to move away from me a little, apparently undecided whether to bail out or not.
Belligerent responded by informing that he was, in fact, on his way to meet his woman, and if anybody spoke to his woman in the manner that he was speaking to Tourist Lady (now my woman), he would kick that motherfucker’s ass. It was an obvious challenge, but one I was going to ignore.
I looked at him as if I was tired and before I could say anything more, an older man sat next to Belligerent and, in a soothing voice, began talking to him. At first Belligerent was hostile to the old man, but because the old man was non-threatening and seemed genuinely interested in him -- asking him about his girlfriend and how she was -- Belligerent took his focus from me and started talking to the old man.
In a loud voice, Belligerent began talking about his “woman” enumerating all her great qualities, and how he couldn’t wait to see her. The old man continued in this vein, asking more questions, generally communicating the feeling that he was interested in Belligerent’s story -- in him as an individual. Eventually, as Belligerent continued to vent and he disclosed more and more, he revealed that he hadn’t seen his woman in a long time, and that he wasn’t sure that she would see him, and with the old man’s prompting, Belligerent's cracked a little as he continued to talk.
He had just come out of jail, he told the old man, and he didn’t really have anyone. All he had, he said, was that he was headed to the last known address of the woman he loved, but he was afraid that she wouldn’t be there, or if she was, if she would even accept him.
As the train arrived at my stop and I got off (with Tourist Lady), the last thing I saw was the old man comforting Belligerent, who had completely broken down sobbing like a child...