I often write about the New York subway, it’s ups and downs, the good, bad and the ugly, so when I found myself facing a fellow, quite Kennedyesque…6 feet 3, tawny, rumpled hair waving with arrogance, I can’t claim to be surprised.
It was early, 4:15 a.m. seats all packed with what I call the changing of the guard: hotel workers, cops, the all-nighters who repair the tracks and trains, when this young kid in his 20s gets on.
Let me say without sounding politically incorrect, most of the riders are Black and Latino and possibly the politest group of New Yorkers you’ll ever meet. The grace and mutual consideration towards fellow passengers at that hour is truly impressive. So when this bumbling kid came on and sat himself when there was barely room, between a middle aged Latino man and young African American girl, no one said a word, as he pinned them in like basted hens.
I’m sitting across watching knowing the Spanish man would say nothing, but was waiting for the girl with dreds and mauve eyeshadow to react, and she did not disappoint.
As this elite turd let his wet umbrella fall across her lap, his eyes shut with indifference, she kicked it across the car.
Well done, I silently said. He woke up with a start proceeding to talk down to her which twisted my nose totally out of shape, so yes, enter SB.
“You know pal, you’re not the only one on the train, so I suggest you be more courteous.”
He gave me that Bobby Kennedy, half toothy grin I actually love (but not this time) and said,
“Hey, it’s a free country.”
So now the entire car knew just what an asshole he really was since, an apology was in order to this young lady who was about to garrote him like a goat.
Next stop Grand Central, we hear as he collects his duffle and umbrella that’s now at the other end of the car, gets up and says, “More power to the people,” before stepping off.
I watched the Latino man shake out his crushed shoulders, and the soggy girl settle in with her music and thought, manners make mornings so much nicer, as the Number 6 wormed it’s way down Lex.