In Other News, Sit Down Already!

Jose Vilson Jose

Sit Down

Sit Down

The A train usually puts me right to sleep. Literally. I turn on my iPod, let some U2 or The Killers crank in my ear, shut my eyes, and I’m magically transported 15 or so stops. That’s not news since I’m usually comfortable with sleeping on the train. Crowded or not, NYC train riders have become less misanthropic, to the point where giving up seats and waving at children isn’t an event but a novelty of NYC. Yet, I knew something funky was going down when, upon closing my eyes on 175th, my body wouldn’t let me sleep. My body’s asking me to be awake and alert for a reason.

At around 168th, the train gets really crowded. Tons of travellers from the hospitals, the 1 train transfers, and the bus stops in the area make their way into the subway car. Across from me, a few people try to avoid one particular seat that’s got gum on it. A few people pass it by, and an elder Asian lady looks at it, sits down in the seat right next to it, carefully avoiding the seat. Next stop: 145th, where a young, skinny dark-skinned Black man comes in, Rasta hat, hood wear comes in and proceeds to sit down in the seat right next to the Asian lady, the same one with gum on it.

Naturally, her first instinct, like everyone else before her on this trip, was to warn the guy to watch the gum. Of course, he pays her little attention. She taps him on his side to indicate the situation. He turns around and says, “Don’t fuckin’ TOUCH ME! Don’t fuckin’ touch me! I don’t want you touching me so don’t fuckin’ touch me!” And the lady defends herself, saying in broken English, “But there’s gum there …” and he continues, “I know there’s gum there, what the fuck, you think I’m blind or something?” (He didn’t see it there, but he strips it off with his one hand and flings it to the floor.) “If I had touched you, there would have been police all over this shit, cop squad and the whole 9 over here, so don’t fuckin’ touch me!”

She’s damn near sobbing, looks at him with disdain, and just turns to her Sudoku puzzle with a scowl on her face. I close my eyes, sighing, hoping not to mutter a word about how disgusting he is. After a few minutes, and a few more illogical rants, none of which I heard because my iPod had on one of my favorite songs ever (“All These Things That I’ve Done” by the Killers), I open my eyes again. As stops whiz by us, I notice him in deep concentration on a lesbian couple to my right. The first I saw had a short hair-cut, looked like she was going to work, and dressed more “masculine,” while the other pretty, Latina, perky, and stroking a Yorkshire terrier she has in one of those bags. . He’s there, elbow on knee, fingers to face, honing in on the more feminine of the two. He’s either in deep seduction or deep abhorrence.

At first, I only noticed that he was mouthing something to the girl. Trash-talking: par for the course from some of these dudes on the train. I thought it was no big deal. Then, 59th Street stop comes, and I wasn’t able to take off my headphones fast enough, but I heard the following spew from his trap:

” … why go out with her if you know she can’t give you kids? What you need is a fucking dick in your back! For real!”

And just runs off. I couldn’t believe this coward.

I looked towards the couple, particularly the more masculine, and just told her, “It’s fucked up. It’s fucked up.” She wraps her fist in her own hand before the rest of us look towards the two. We notice the more feminine one look at her partner and fall into her shoulder, crying her eyes out, scared. Moments like that will always resonate with me, a moment where those of us who witnessed this abuse rallied around this genuinely peaceful couple.

This is not another one of those pro-peace PSAs. You already know where I stand on LGBT issues, and I hate proselytizing too much. But I also know the value of calling people out for the miscreants they are. I respect religions and the right for people to believe what they will, but today reaffirms what’s wrong with some people.

To the guy who came on the train to harrass people today, I’m not sure what crawled up your sphincter  and ate your intestines this week, but your idiocy needs to stop. No one said anything to you nor did anyone interfere with your ability to live. It’s either you need a long hug or you need to rearrange your life. Nothing’s appropriate about attacking elder ladies who were trying to help you out or a couple that had nothing to do with you. If you think you’re a god, you’ve proven to be far less than that today. If you think what you saw was unnatural today, then maybe you need to tell your clothesmakers to stop exploiting little children to make the threads you have on.

If you think you proved yourself as a man today, you proved that you’re no better than the gum you flung to the floor. I wish that gum was just a little more stickier. Might give you a better reason to sit the hell down.

Jose, who can’t stand people like that …