Morning Subway Blog

Man opposite me on the train this morning wears denim overalls which half-cover a chartreuse t-shirt.  He is a powerful looking man, despite the fact that his bull-like chest is now both chartreuse and bibbed. Thick arms, both right and left, both inner and outer, are covered with tattoos.  One features a large, grinning, skull that wears a Valkyrie-type helmet.

As I look at these arms, I understand, for the first time, the value of tattoos:  anyone with so many of them can wear bib overalls in New York City with complete impunity.

He is not a crazy man, meaning that his eyes don’t catch mine, not even once.  (See e.g. my post re Mondays and the strange attraction that mentally disturbed subwayriders seem to feel for my gaze.)

Drummers now set up a performance space between the subway poles.  They do block out the screeches of a child down the way, but only at the expense of a throbbing ache in the ear on their side.    Even so,  I contemplate putting change in the hat that’s passed—that child can reach an extraordinarily high pitch—only they move the hat too fast, quick to realize that no one in this car is much interested in paying for loud morning drumming.

As the train moves on, I catch my face in the opposite window of the car, and remember the comment of a friend yesterday who’d not seen me for some time.  I’d put on a little weight, she said, that showed especially in my face.

Oh yes, she also said it looked good.

Oh yes…

Cringing, I look quickly for anything other than the mirror-like blackness of that window.  Surely there’s someone nutty whose eyes I can work on avoiding.  This is the IRT.

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