Subway Stories

That fat asshole (self-proclaimed) on public transportation

I’m going to write this because it had to be written. It’s not that I have anything against people who are overweight, it’s that I have something against giant assholes who happen to be overweight (really, it’s just that I have something against lame-ass human beings).

It was a morning — the day doesn’t really matter since being awake in the morning is bad enough.  I hustled my ante-meridiem-ass to the 6-train only to be disappointed with a plethora of city folk waiting for the train. Next train? 5 minutes. Fuck. The crowd would only grow.

I wait. The train comes. I get on it. (I board at 103rd street and my final destination is 23rd.) No seats. Damnit. I’m not really surprised. The train starts moving and a woman sitting next to me stands up. Perfect! I’m going to get a seat after all. As I move to sit down, the man who was sitting next to her (up until 5 seconds ago) slides over into her space, but not completely out of his former space. He then spreads his legs as if he is expecting a fucking international export-carrying barge to pass through them.

I changed my mind. I do care about the day. It’s Monday, and I’m sitting down, you prick.

So I sit down in the small space that this kind gentleman allotted to me. I’m now sitting shoulder to shoulder with him on my left and some poor soul who is trying to sleep on my right. Within seconds this sea-vessel-docking-dickhead says “REALLY?”

I respond with “really.” He mutters some bullshit under his breath and then it got exciting.

Me: “You don’t have to sit like that.”

Him: “Like what?”

Me: “With your legs like that.” (I point as if I might actually make it clear to him that he deserved to be clubbed BY a baby seal.)

Him: “Yeah I do.”

Me: “Why?”

And with this thought-provoking question, he pauses. And yells:

“BECAUSE I’M FUCKING FAT, ALRIGHT?”

Passengers on the train all look with concerned faces in our direction. I cracked a small smile, his flawless rhetoric nearly unseated me; it was a touch of a.m. comedy. I had just witnessed three people sitting on our subway bench, and now this man suggested that only two could fit because he was “fucking fat.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

I was there; he didn’t gain weight since I boarded the train. And to be sure, he really wasn’t even that fat, and he most certainly wasn’t obese.

Out of spite, I remained seated. It was horribly uncomfortable and hot. His legs were touching mine and I was sweating. I could feel him purposely pushing on my legs with his, but like I said, it was Monday, so I pushed back. By the time we got to 42nd street, someone next to him stood up and moved to get off the train. The self-proclaimed fat jerk stood up to move over, and in his graceful motion decided to forcefully (and intentionally) elbow me while making his merry way. He sat back down just a little bit to the left of me.

Since he had decided to elbow me, I knew the only fair (and rational) thing I could do was slide over right next to him, again. And I did. We were right back to being shoulder to shoulder.

I got off the train in 3 stops. I didn’t elbow him on my way off, nor did I say anything. And I thought, next time I’m on an airplane, I’ll just lay down in the entire row. And if anybody asks why I’m there, I’ll just tell them the truth: I’m fucking tired. 

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Subway Stories

The Immovable Man

I sat there, head hunched over, back of the neck exposed, unhappy about where I was heading – work. Just another day of being a prisoner to a salary. The train comes to a halt, I raise my head to see the new travelers who would be joining me, and a man steps on slowly. He is holding three bags in his left hand, his knuckles are ivory white by carrying the strain. He wears a diagonally striped tie, red and blue, which is the centerpiece for his blue suit. He is hunched over, which seems needless, and walks straight to the center of the car. Once there, he wraps his right hand around the vertical resting pole.

The man can’t be over the age of 55. I cannot figure out what condition he has, but he made it trivial. The 20+ pounds of bags in his hand remained motionless for 6 stops; he never put them down. At the sixth stop, his slow pace and hunched manner carries him out of the train with the numerous other passengers.

I’ll never see my fellow prisoner again. I, a prisoner to a variable daily obligation. He, a prisoner to a permanent physical condition. I am reminded not to be a fool.

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