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Subway Trips Vol. 1

April 26th, 2023

Saturday (Technically Sunday)

I had a great night up to that point. I had gone to see a favored comedian of mine down in Levittown and had walked a good two miles with my friend Zach to make it to the train back to Manhattan. We met up with a friend after, only making it on the train home around 4 am. Wise choice. Zach and I rode the same train, but he got off before me, after which I overheard the woman next to me say to a man, “don’t talk to me.”

The man responded, “you can’t disrespect me like that.”

The conversation looped as such until the sound of the woman’s taser brought bystanders to the ends of the train and violence ensued. Unfortunately, when I’m extremely tired (as in, having stayed up for about 26 hours at that point) I approach this demeanor where I 1. look like a gremlin and 2. fail to avert my eyes from things I probably shouldn’t make contact with. This knowledge compounded with my overall lack of perception led to no surprise when one of the men involved repeated to me with profound aggression, “what’re you lookin' at?”

He threw a punch that brushed my cheek just as the doors opened. I ran home.


I’ve always admired the extent some couples venture to for PDA. Never had this admiration been more heightened until today, when I found myself dozing off in my insomnia-ridden way just barely tuning in to one of those homeless guys who spit out their profound manifestos to whoever won’t care. His thesis was that all the money in the world had been stolen, that all the money in the world had been stolen, and that all the money in the world had been stolen. Ten minutes later, he followed that up with an additional, more condescending thesis: that people will do anything for money. This confused me, because it seemed that he was valuing money (it being stolen was a horrid thing), yet it was detestable that anyone would dare sacrifice their dignity for it. It confused me a little more when he brought murderous fantasies into the mix, and I promptly decided to tune him out.

Back to the PDA, there was this young couple that decided to sit directly next to me despite the numerous open seats around the still-ranting homeless guy (shocking, I know). The man put his hand on the outside of the woman’s thigh, adjacent to my leg. In other words, I felt his hand on my outer thigh.


How is it that I manage to get into these almost-awkward scenarios? It’s not like they’re actually awkward. No words are said, actions dissatisfactory, looks made, or anything like that. Okay, yeah that’s pretty confusing. Example: today I was standing in the subway, then sat down as a seat opened up. Halfway through the trip to the next stop, I noticed that a pregnant woman had walked in. I didn’t wanna see her wobble around and I hate thank yous, so I elected to stand up when the train stopped and if she wanted the seat, she could just take it. As soon as I got up, a family of three entered, took up the seat, and left the pregnant woman to wobble.


I’m beginning to recognize bad omens upon entering a subway car. Perhaps the fact that half the car smelled of piss -- centered around a particular gentleman -- and that only one door in the set I entered opened properly were signs that maybe I should’ve picked a different car. I forgot to charge my phone last night and I left about fifteen minutes later than I wanted to, so I was already off to a great start. I made several attempts to order coffee for pickup in those moments when the train was stopped and my phone could connect, and in doing so I failed to notice that the piss-man in question had passed out and urinated all over the car floor.

I took a few photos to post on social media so as not to forget, which of course made me miss my stop. I got off the subway out the singular open door and walked the extra 3 blocks to where I meant to go. In doing so, I caught the attention of this man dressed as a peanut who kept trying to make me donate to charity -- not buying my regular excuse that I was “under eighteen.” The particular nicety of the situation was that the construction going on stopped me for about two minutes, not just making me late but also letting me hear the intricate details about testicular cancer -- perhaps fittingly, details I already know.

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