Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lady, I'm sorry.

I'm on the train in NY. If I remember correctly, it's the 4 heading downtown.

There's plenty of room on the train as it's not rush hour, but there are no empty seats. I'm standing right in front of the doors, floating between the two vertical metal poles. Sitting in the 2-seat cove, just on the other side of the metal pole, are a couple ladies probably in their late 40's or early 50's. I'm gonna say late 40's. I think they were talking about cats.

Across them is a smattering of other people, some seated, some standing. Guys and gals.

Now, sometimes a train conductor is smooth, and probably has a good deal of experience under his/her belt. It's like you're riding a cloud - a loud, dirty cloud, with breakdancers or a mariachi band. OR you get the conductor who is: A. brand new, B. has restless leg syndrome, or C. doesn't really give a shit.

When you have this kind of conductor, great things happen. People suddenly get inappropriate with their neighbors, faces fly into bodies, bits and pieces touch each other - all things that justify yelling "STRANGER DANGER!!"

On this lovely day, we have the latter of the 2 conductors, and he/she is getting trigger happy with those brakes. Instead of a smooth stop, it's a haphazard, jerky jolt, that's more like a mechanical bull ride. There is no finesse with this one.

I'm gonna be honest, and say I should've been holding onto that pole, but it's filthy and I generally don't hold on unless I have no other choice. So I'm just standing there, trying to keep myself upright while the spazmatic conductor hits the peddles.

Here's when everything goes wrong: at an instant, the train lurches forward, brakes screeching, and my arm flies out to grab the pole and save me from disaster. Unfortunately the lady sitting next to the pole is leaning forward, and my hand goes slightly past the pole.

She's wearing a baseball cap, and my hand perfectly flips the cap off her head. Not a big deal, except her hair is attached to her cap.

Ahh fuck.

The cap and her hair goes flying backwards, and lodges between her back and the seat. She's scrambling around trying to find the thing with the train still jerking, finally standing up to find it on her seat. She puts it on crooked, and it looks like a bad 80's wig for the lead singer of a hair-band.

I feel awful and gush apologies while trying to keep myself upright. She's clearly embarrassed, and that asshole driving the train is tapping the breaks to the beat of his AC/DC tape playing in his Sony Walkman.

I look away, trying to make the situation go away, and find everyone sitting opposite in tears fighting back the laughter. Red faces, sweating, hands over mouths, bodies twitching with suppressed laughter. They're all staring at me. I see this and immediately fight back my own outburst of then-inappropriate laughter. Quick, look at the floor.

The train finally gets to the next stop, again with no finesse. I'm not sure if this was their intended stop, but the whole side of the train sprints onto the platform, and immediately burst into cackling, howling, screams of laughter. Like a volcano of laughter just erupted after decades of building pressure.

This is the train version of getting hit in the nuts with the football. That lady's hair was the nuts, my hand the football. For my part, I'm sorry mystery lady.

But fuck it's funny when someone gets hit in the nuts.


  1. I'm notorious for shit like this, so much so that I sometimes want to just tattoo "OH MY GOD I'M SO SORRY!!!!" on my forehead :|

  2. I'd be totally apologetic for that moment but find the experience totally hilarious afterwards. Classic! lol really love your writings.