Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I [blech] NY

So I get off the N train around 9:30 PM at my home station in Queens. My bag is digging into my shoulder, and my mind is already at my apartment with its shoes off, a glass of wine in its hand, CSI on the TV, and a cat in its lap. I was at work from 8:30 until 6:45, then at an almost entirely pointless rehearsal (though I did get to see His Hotness) from 7:15 to 9.

Just as I'm almost through the turnstile, my way is blocked by a large woman. She's wearing a black coat and white earbuds - an iPod in her pocket. She says, in a needy, whiny voice that as a New Yorker I know all too well, "Miss, could you swipe your Metrocard so that I can get on the subway?"

She's got some serious cojones, begging for a free ride right in front of the token booth, although I guess it's her right. It's also my right to say no. I barely stop walking, squeezing through the tiny space she's left between herself and the metal turnstile cage saying, "No, sorry."

As I turn and head down the corridor, I hear her again. The tiny voice is gone:

"You hit me with your bag!!"

"I didn't mean to, I'm sorry..." I singsong over my shoulder. I keep walking.

"MISS!"

"I'm SORRY." I keep walking.

"THEN SAY SO!" she says in an I-will-cut-you voice. I exchange a whatever glance with the man next to me.

Still, the night is ruined. I will debate and mull the incident in my head - was it uncharitable of me not to swipe her through? Why does a woman who has a damn iPod need help getting on the subway? I work 12 hours a day at 2 jobs - I don't have a damn iPod. Why should I help someone whose priorities are so clearly screwed up? Should I have told her off for screeching at me? I so wanted to - but she was enormous. When a man grabs my ass on the street, I have no problem serving up a big plate of batshit crazy, because he's so clearly in the wrong... but I did ignore a request for help, and I did hit her with my bag. Not hard - and it was entirely accidental. But I could have been polite and kind. But I was tired. But do I really want to be that person, who makes those kind of excuses for shutting off my compassion?

I wake up this morning and my jaw is sore. I have been clenching it all night. I've been doing that quite a bit lately - I'm sure part of it is career angst, but could it also be that, after nine years, NYC is getting to me?

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posted by Addy @ 4/12/2006 09:25:00 AM |

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