Tag Archives: The Train

A non-story: Gimme Your Fingernails!

moonvestA crazy old homeless guy challenged me to fisticuffs on the train last night. There wasn’t any reason—he was just crazy and full of energy after eating a small bag of chips.

I had Captain America and Kimbo Slice ready for him but I just kinda looked at him like “dude, really?” and he got off the train without incident. This other guy looked at me and shrugged. I did the same.

The end.


A one-act play: Impasse




A former FRAT BOY in a Northface jacket is standing on the inside of the turnstile shouting at the man in BOOTH. The MTA employee seems uninterested in the argument which, judging by the expressions of the many other people on the platform, has been going on for quite some time.

Oddly enough, the Frat Boy does not appear to be intoxicated–he’s merely lost his tenuous grip on the control of the pure, red rage that constantly bubbles beneath the surface of his soul. 



Two As went by without stopping! You need to make an announcement and tell people what we’re supposed to do.


You need to take the E to 42nd Street. The A is not stopping at this station.


There’s no C and the sign says to take that A so I need to take the A.


You need to take the E to 42nd Street. The A is not stopping at this station.


Then you need to make an announcement and tell us what to do.


I’m telling you to take the E to 42nd Street. The A is not stopping at this station.


Then make an announcement so we know that! There’s no C and the sign says to take that A so I’m standing here waiting to take the A!


There is no A. You need to take the E to 42nd Street. The A is not stopping at this station.


Fine, then make an announcement! Two As went by without stopping! You need to make an announcement and tell people what we’re supposed to do.


There is. No. A. You need to take the E to 42nd Street.


The Freat Boy finally gives up and walks away.



[muttering to whoever] They need to make an announcement. How am I supposed to know what’s going on?


An open letter…

monk1Dear guy I saw on the way home tonight,


The uptown A is not an airplane. Therefore, it is not necessary to bring a portable DVD player with you to watch 15 minutes of Monk on your way to Columbus Circle.



The look on the face of that girl who was sitting next to you


P.S. Dude, seriously… Monk?

An open letter…

roneye4Dear person sitting across from me on the train,


I’m sorry that we keep making accidental eye contact–I’m not enjoying it any more than you are. Understand, however, that I do not intend to rob you.



The person sitting across from you on the train


P.S. C’mon, lady… my watch costs more than your outfit.

I’ll never know: German chocolate cake

cakeAs I was descending into the 23rd St. CE station at around 2:30 AM, an entire uneaten piece of German chocolate cake was inexplicably sitting patiently on the landing.

There is in fact a 24 hour bakery right at the top of those stairs that I’m fairly certain the cake came from. Nevertheless, what could possibly cause someone to walk into that bakery, buy a piece of cake that probably cost 5 or 6 bucks and then immediately abandon said cake completely untouched less than 50 ft. away? 

He couldn’t have simply decided he didn’t like it because not even a single bite had been taken. The lid on the to-go box was opened so maybe he got the wrong order, but the bakery was still open only a few feet away so he easily could’ve gone back to exchange it for what he asked for. The presumed discovery was even made on the outside of the turnstile so he wouldn’t have had to worry about wasting a MetroCard swipe.

It’s possible that he bought the cake and later decided he didn’t want it but this seems unlikely given how quickly he would’ve had to have changed his mind. Who buys a whole big-ass piece of German chocolate cake and, seconds later, says “meh… nevermind,” and discards it on the street. If nothing else, you’d think he’d just take it home and save it for later. 

It crossed my mind that he thought he was doing something nice and leaving a treat for a homeless person. If that were the case, he should’ve picked something different since a lot of people don’t like coconut. If I were homeless and, in my travels, hawk-eyed a large, fresh piece of cake sitting in a box on the stairs, I’d be quite crestfallen when I got close enough to see that it was German chocolate. I suppose that I’d still eat it but it would be reduced from “pleasant surprise” to something I was just eating because I needed something to eat. Beggars can’t be choosers, after all.


*Epilogue: When I was riding home on election night, the lady who made a cameo appearance in the second one-act play had a to-go box of her own. Since she didn’t want to hold it as she napped, she put it on the floor. Food. On the floor. Of the A Train. Gross.

A love story: Hipsters and Hobos

Other than perhaps their hipsterbumsimilar taste in hairstyles and shoes, I’m not quite sure why hipsters love crazy homeless people so much. As long as a homeless person is between a 6.5 and 8 on the crazy scale, there’s a good chance that he spends about two hours of his day riding trains and telling stories to smirking 23-year-olds. It probably has something to do with irony.

The crazies are already willing to talk to anyone who’ll listen (or no one at all, if need be) so it isn’t hard for the hipster to bait them into a conversation. Simultaneously, the youngster is often stoned or a little drunk, increasing his desire to sit and chuckle at a lovable tramp. It’s more than just the drugs though; there’s a unique relationship that these people share that I can’t quite wrap my mind around.

There seems to be an element of passing down knowledge–each bum is like some sort of filthy griot telling his tale to the new generation. If they’re lucky, the hipster has just come back from band practice and the sight of an acoustic guitar will spark a remembrance the bum’s tenure in a Mississippi jazz band. He’ll tell a story about some guy named “Mudball Malone,” complete with beat-boxing and some sort of incoherent song.

No matter what the story is about, it usually ends the same way: the hipster reaches his stop, pats the bum on the back and is declared to be “alright with” his new homeless friend. Both continue on feeling like they’re truly reached across the aisle and had an amazing human interaction. Neither will remember any of it in a few hours. No money exchanges hands.

I hate those kids that dance on the A

kids-dancingYou know you do to. The subway is just about always packed with people singing, telling sad stories or just generally looking pathetic in an attempt to pry a few shekels from your Canal St. Goyard. For the most part, the sympathy for their presumed misfortune is enough for me to forgive the fact that they’re drowning out my Diane Rehm podcast. Most Saturdays, however, a particular group of kids rides the up and down the A line all afternoon break dancing for money; I hate them.

Maybe it’s the fact that I have to see them so frequently. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re begging for money with the assistance of a new-ish looking iPod Classic. Maybe it’s the fact that, despite having seen their act around a half dozen times, it’s always the same and seems to actually be declining in quality. Maybe it’s the fact that anytime we’re below 59th St. there’s some tourist from Boise, Idaho who finds it all amazing and gives them money. Whatever it is, they’re officially my least favorite beggars.

They don’t dance particularly well–each only has two to three “moves”–and don’t seem to understand how to time their routine around when the train stops and starts. The erratic movements of the train wreak havoc on their already questionable sense of rhythm and timing. Combined with the fact that they pick a heavy traffic time to dance, they often times stumble about the car bumping into people and falling in their laps.

To make things worse, after their poorly choreographed nuisance finally ends, they tend to just stand there and look at the passengers until someone comes to them with money and, in the event that they collect anything, never say “thank-you.” They also tend to count up their donations right in front of everyone and loudly debate whether or not it was worth it to stop in that car, which seems to be off-putting to those who did contribute when the consensus is “no.”

Please, if you’re the giving type, I encourage you to save your spare change for almost anyone else who asks for it. These kids don’t appear to need it, don’t work to deserve it and barely seem to want it. Fuck ’em… I’ve got problems too.