Thursday, February 07, 2008

Rush Hour Thoughts.

Okay, a little early, always nice, no need to rush... that train seems awfully full, it's a gamble, but why don't I wait for the next one? I've got the time, and maybe I can get a seat, read my book, jot some notes... he's cute. Hmm. Is he mirroring me? That's what they call it right? I'm leaning up against the wall with one leg up (Peter says it's my hustler pose; I just think of it as my 'resting my knee' pose), now this guy is doing the same. Nah, it's just a coincidence... okay he's wandering out to see if the train is coming, no luck, now he moves closer to me, takes the pose again, not meeting my eyes though.... checks for the train again, now moves even closer, mirrors me again, but I'm still not sure, not so good with the innuendo... hell, a guy pretty much has to club me over the head and drag me back to his cave by my hair before I'm really sure he wants me. Don't think this guy is going to be doing that. Just as well, I really should go to work. Daddy gots some bills.

Shit, this train is even more full than the last one, and now I have to take it to be on time. Oh well, lost that gamble. Man, it looks like we're all going to a funeral. Why is everyone wearing black? Why am I wearing black? Well, Winter coats, whaddya gonna do, they don't show the grime that much, just looking at the windows at home tells you how grimy the air is... I wonder if the landlord would clean the windows for us... I can only reach the one on the fire escape... I sure as hell ain't hanging out of a fifth floor window, not without serious mountaineering equipment... I wish I could read my book, why did I bring a hardback, they're impossible to hold... 96th street, a whole lot of people get off, maybe I'll get a seat, but it's hardly worth it, I have to transfer at Columbus Circle in five stops anyway... yeah, just keep holding the door open there, Sparky, hold up everyone else on this train, back up all the other trains, it's all about you, isn't it. Sometimes I wish they'd electrify the doors, just a little bit, give the assholes just a bit of a shock... yeah, except for the next time when I'm holding the doors open...

Wow! That is yellow! Man I feel better already. "Miss, that coat is fabulous, it just perked me up the minute you got on!" Oops. Broke the cardinal rule of Rush Hour, don't talk to strangers. Anything other than " excuse me" is a bad idea. She at least acknowledges me, if we count the nod and grunt. Come on Honey, you can't honestly be worried I was hitting on you, are you? I complimented you on your coat! I used the word 'fabulous' for god's sake! And I did it advisedly, by the way...Ah well, at least she hasn't pepper sprayed me. That would be hard to explain at work... "sorry I couldn't make it to class, I was in the hospital rinsing out my eyes after I told a woman I liked her coat"...

dear GOD, man, did you brush your teeth this morning? Look, I'm sorry, I know it's cold and sinus season, but when you're that tall, you really have to take extra care, 'cause damn... hmm... I wonder if anyone would tell me if my breath was that rank? Who in my life would be in a position to do that? It's even harder than finding someone to scrub paint off my back, I bet. How do I go about that question? Would Tommy be amenable? Kinda weird, but at least I'm not asking him to get in the shower with me, and it's not like we'd have to kiss or anything. Wow, being single has some odd pitfalls to it... Oh THANK GOD, I don't know who you are, but I'm so glad you had curry last night, that's a relief...

Oh man, are you really going to panhandle during this trip? There's no room, man, don't you see how packed we are?... I guess it's playing the odds, though I wonder how those folks make out at this hour? Do more folks get annoyed than feel sympathy, or does it all even out? When did I become such a heartless asshole? Anytime Dad is in town, he gives at least a little something to almost everyone who asks. Sure, he doesn't live here, and he makes a hell of a lot more money than me... but he also grew up much closer to that life than I ever did...Okay, sure panhandling, not the most attractive quality, the stories some of them tell are obviously lies, or at least very very old stories (seriously man, you've been 'just out of the hospital' for the eight years I've been taking this train), but come ON, are you really going to tell me begging for money is easy? Fun? The humiliation, the annoyance, the judgements, the arrests, it can't be that good a deal... still, I'm not reaching for my wallet, am I? I wouldn't even if doing so didn't risk making this guy think I was trying to feel him up. Wow, in Indiana I would never stand this close to a person unless I was ready to kiss or punch him. That old theatre chestnut, kiss or kill sure takes on a different feel in NYC. I still can't believe I can sit with my leg touching a strange man's leg and no one gets irate. Of course there are those guys who like to sit with their legs spread, taking up three potential seats, like their balls are too damn big to be squashed or something. I delight in taking the seat next to them. It's the best when there are TWO guys sitting with their legs spread, taking up five seats between them, so I can slide in between them, and scuffle around in my bag until they get uncomfortable enough to close their stupid legs and sit like normal people. What a weird form of machismo that is. It's sort of like the whole crossing the street thing. New Yorkers pride themselves on not trusting anyone, and on moving quickly, yet they will routinely throw themselves in front of moving traffic and walk slooowly, assuming that the person behind the wheel is sane, in control, a decent driver and paying attention... seems pretty damn trusting to me. "No one tells me how fast to move, bitch!" Yeah stud, you showed that car, didn't you... I guess I'm not much better though... when did I become the guy who gets pissed off at tourists in Times Square? Seriously though, do they not realize there are other people on the street? Do they HAVE to stand around in enormous bovine clumps, gawking at the scenery, making plans, consulting maps, I mean WOW, they might as well be parking an SUV in the middle of the sidewalk... but I really don't like it if anyone is walking in front of me, do I. It's like Dad when he's driving, he hates being passed, and hates being behind another driver. Even by New York standards people tell me I walk fast. In Times Square I'm just trying to get the hell out of there before I PUNCH SOME PINHEAD IN A BASEBALL CAP WHO IS STANDING IN MY WAY IN A BIG BOVINE CLUMP WITH HIS BUDDIES... Okay Patrick needs to get a grip. Patrick needs to get out of town for a bit. Patrick needs to stop referring to himself in the third person, it's creepy. Breathe, breathe... I'm really not entirely with it at 8 in the morning am I? Well, not when I'm standing smooshed up against a bunch of strangers, with all of us pretending we don't see anyone else. This is how we deal, isn't it; we create our own walls.

The coffee was a mistake, wasn't it. Every time I do it I think this ninety minute commute is too damn long! I didn't move here to be an art model, if that was my goal, I never would have left Seattle, I probably could have bought a house by now... well, close... Okay I wouldn't have bought a house, but I wouldn't be standing at 8am in the middle of a packed, stinky subway car with a whole lot of surly commuters, pretending we don't see one another... funny how I rarely see faces I find attractive at this hour. I normally love all kinds of faces, I want to sketch them, make masks of them, play characters inspired by them onstage... at this hour no one is at home in her face though. We're all somewhere else. Even me, my reflection in the window looks like nobody is home. Two holes where my eyes should be...

WOW. Are those eye brows or caterpillars? That's my future, isn't it, if I don't keep taking a weed whacker to 'em on a regular basis. Is this an Irish thing? I definitely got it from Dad. So did poor Mary, but she's staying on top of it too. Judging from some of the farmers we saw in County Sligo, I might need to shave the tip of my nose regularly one day. Some of those guys looked like they had turkey feathers growing there. And of course there's the ear-hair. Uuugh. I've not yet developed that little problem, and fortunately there are tools for dealing with it now...

Oh come ON, are you really going to preach now, buddy? I appreciate the sentiment, I suppose, I'm trying to assume you truly have my best interests at heart, but... wait for it... and there we go, the old "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" line, do they all think they're the first ones to say that? Is it just the rhyme? Why does it hold such appeal? Funny how they all talk about the importance of love until they get to this topic and they always get to this topic. Why not war, abortion, some other hot button issue, why is this the only one they ever mention? Well, along with the "one must be born again" part... I wonder if he's read the rest of Leviticus... had a cheeseburger recently there, Sparky? Shellfish? Bacon? Ya wearing an elastic waistband say? Then you can stand next to me at the stoning. I'll hold your hand if you like. If I'm going to die, I'd rather it were for some hot man-loving than for wearing a cotton/poly blend or working on the Sabbath (and which day is that anyway?)...

No, of course I'm not going to say any of this... this is not a battle I am ready to fight right now, and it wouldn't go anywhere useful before one of us had to get off the train, or somebody told us to shut the fuck up. At least that's what I'm telling myself now, because damn, I really have to piss... That's it, no more coffee until I get to the school from now on... who am I kidding, I've been saying that for two years now... Ah, sitting down, sure it's only three stops at this point, but it's still a load off...

Thank the DEAR LORD... finally... ah, air air... hadn't realized how stuffy it was down there... got twenty minutes before class, I'll be a human being by then... Good thing I love this job.

14 comments:

Java said...

I do that. In my head when I'm behind the wheel. And I think "I should post some of these thoughts" but when I get in front of the computer my brain goes blank.
When you first went to NYC did you stand in Times Square gaping at the scenery? And talk about bovine clumps... what was that in the subway?

somewhere joe said...

Patrick I'll let you drag me by my hair into your cave, hot-cha... after we get to your floor that is. But perhaps my setting, with it's Jurassic palm trees, as Blue has noted, would better fit the mood.

"That would be hard to explain at work... "sorry I couldn't make it to class, I was in the hospital rinsing out my eyes after I told a woman I liked her coat..."

ROFL! "Don't taze me, madam!"

Java said...

Joe, do you have enough hair to hang onto for dragging purposes?

john said...

One of my biggest fears is offending people with my breath--so I brush a lot and use mouthwash and breath mints. And I'm tall--I'm quite short 5'4".

somewhere joe said...

java, surely you've heard of 'having someone by the short hair...'

Cooper said...

I'm still waiting for someone to drag me up five flights of stairs to his cave ... or over the beach to a cave Somewhere ... This is one of my goals for 2008. That's a goal, right?

Loved the train-o-logue. Ain't people lovely?

Sooo-this-is-me said...

First I have to say I just knew Joe would be trying to drag Patrick into a cave somewhere!
I used to take public transit so I understand where you are coming from, ugh! I always wished I had an electric cattle prod for the goof-balls that insist on blocking the doors and stairs! Zzzzap!

Steven

Patrick said...

Java, you know, I don't think I ever did the gawk at Times Square thing, if only because I was never there as someone just taking in the sights. I was always on my way somewhere else, in a bit of a rush. Apparently I went straight to frenzied, asshole New Yorker. In my time here though, Times Square went quickly to the Disney Theme Park it is now.

Joe, okay that works, if you aren't going to club me, at least letting me know you're interested will expedite things. I think your neighborhood is more cave-like, but I'll grab your hair wherever I see it first.

John, I don't think I worried about such things until that day. Now I do all the time. Great.

Cooper, I think those are fine goals, and am fully committed to helping you achieve one or both of them. That's the kind of guy I am. I'm a giver.

Steven, yes, I've often wished for an electric cattle prod, especially when walking on the streets behind huge groups of slow-moving folks (for the record, bovine clumbs refers to a herd mentality, not to body types; just in case that wasn't clear). City crowds do not seem to bring out the best in me. I'm working on it.

Jess said...

a guy pretty much has to club me over the head and drag me back to his cave by my hair before I'm really sure he wants me

Sounds like my dating days. When I think back to all the signals I was too uncertain to pursue, it's staggering! The guy who walked over to me and said, "you're so fucking cute," I understood (and yes, anyone who didn't know me in my younger, thinner days, these things honestly happened! *g*). Anything short of that and I was left guessing!

As for the rest of that post... I think you need your suburban dog-wrestling trip as soon as we can arrange it!

tornwordo said...

So true about the faces at that hour. I often imagine us as prisoners, shackled and headed to the workcamps.

Alan Bennett Ilagan said...

A gritty and gorgeous post... just like its writer.

somewhere joe said...

Cooper, we're short on caves down here. Would behind a sand dune rustle your palm tree?

christopherc said...

I'm not so certain I could ever adjust to such an urban area. But, like Cooper and Joe, if you were offering to pull me into your lair, I may give it a spin... especially if you could arrange i t with Cooper Joe, Yourself and I all at once...I've few more to throw into that pile up too!!!

Hmmm, now I"m sounding like a slut aren't I? At least it would be fun!

-C

Greg said...

Dang, this is a cruisy Comments section!

Patrick, thanks for this great post, which reminds me that it's fun to visit NYC (I do try to avoid joining in cow clumps whilst there, having grown up just across the river), but I'm glad to live on the Cape, where the bovine clumping only happens on the highway during July and August!

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