The New York Subway is pretty much a different world. Rules can be bended, beer sipped through paper bags, and unfortunately way to much groping can occur for a public transit. But I love it anyway, germy handrails, shared oxygen and all.
Even the crazy, always asking money for something street performers are so interesting. Which is why I find myself cracking up laughing as this man with a guitar and can only play 4 cords, starts making up songs about the people in the car. Almost everyone is trying to ignore him, which I can't help but think is rude.
You don't have to give him money, but you should act like he's a person. So I laugh at his latest song.
My dier mistake.
"Check out the girl with the orange juice...." he starts to croon. I go to laugh and then look down. I am holding an empty orange juice container in my hand, the only thing left from my delicious on the go breakfast of bacon, egg, and cheese.
"If someone can name this artist I will kiss the beautiful Orange juice girl."
My smile is now a frozen fixture on my face as I look around frantically for help. The men across from me look shocked, but offer no supportive smiles.
"No one answer him," I call out. I'm laughing, trying not to cause a problem while the train is stuck in train traffic, but I don't think its funny.
He plays Bob Marley (of fucking course). I guess the blonde haired girl around my age sitting next to me still needs her "coolness" to be validated because she yells out triumphantly, "Bob Marley". Her drug rug from Pac Sun nearly dances with authenticity.
"Traitor Bitch," I mutter under my breath. She looks shocked and I really don't find the time to feel bad. My eyes are trained on the street performer in rags, standing up and laughing at me.
He begins to lumber towards me, trying to push his big body through the scattering of people who have to stand on the semi-crowded train. His fingernails look filthy.
"I'm coming for you orange juice beauty."
I look back at the two grown men across from me. They look like they could take on this colossal mountain of a man together. At least try and stop him. But they just stare back in horror and I realize they will be no help.
"No, no thank Im good" I start waving my hands in front of me, but now he's there and he smells and all the good humor from his jokes are gone.
"I've never had me a white girl before," he is laughing, using the same tone he uses in his songs.
"I bet your boyfriend must be so glad to have landed you."
And he bends down.
I quickly stick my head down so that the lips of this nameless mountain of rags, brushes the top of my hair. He laughs and stands back up. The train is grumbling to a halt.
"You want a piece of that," he points back at me and the 70 year old man he's referring to looks away, ashamed to have been drawn into this car wreck of a subway stop.
Finally he gets out. So does traitor bitch. I don't think it was her stop but she just couldn't stand sitting next to me anymore. I think she switched cars.
As the doors finally closed shut on my smiling assailant, I glance up at the people left, still staring at me and shifting eyes uncomfortably.
"Thanks for the fucking help." I say.