December 2011: My friends and I on our way back from a Post-Holiday-Christmas-Party. Chit chatting and laughing away, we randomly take a seat on the R train, which is running late again on another typical Sunday night. Or so we think. Mistake #1.
Completely absorbed in our conversation, we at first did not notice the ugly stares from a hunched over woman across from us. Mistake #2.
All of a sudden my friend looks up and notices that something is wrong. By then the female is practically attacking us with her bare looks. We are all three creeped out but try to nervously laugh it off. Without further warning, the woman-like creature yells and curses us out. No apparent reason, obviously. We slide over all the way to the other side of the car and continue our talk. Just another random madwoman on the train, we think.
Fast forward 5 months:
I am running late to an appointment at my friend’s house and am happy to snag a seat on the overcrowded F-Train form 14th St on. It can be quite an unusual thing to have, a free spot on a Saturday afternoon. I then glance across from me and see a tired female-like person with chopped off red hair. She is slouched and taking up a whole bench for herself. At first I am startled, unsure as to why exactly she looks familiar. As far as I know I am not yet friends with the homeless of New York and that is pretty much what she resembles.
Then it hits me: It’s the madwoman from back in December! At first I am hesitating, my desire to switch seats immediately almost takes control of me. Or rather: Taking the chance of not having a seat but standing again seems all of a sudden attractive. Anywhere far far away from this woman. Then I chill. It’s been almost half a year and I am dressed completely different, I think. No way on earth she would remember me from way back then. How wrong I was….
She happens to wake up on once every so often but I become more and more confident that I am out of the limbo. So I start getting my cell phone ready as I just have to take a picture for those two other friends I was with when she flipped on us in the winter. My phone is wrapped in a cassette cover, making it less evident that it’s a cell phone.
I even manage to shoot three pictures of her until she gets what I am doing. And this is when hell freezes over. Her loud cursing begins again and is aimed directly towards me. I think she was also mad because of the guy who sat next to her without her permission, to be honest with you. I try to ignore her screams for a bit but then have enough. At the next stop I pretend I am getting off – and flee to the other end of the wagon. Everyone is aware of her yells by now and doesn’t know where to look. Still, the crowd is pretty tolerant of the madwoman, even though it is a Saturday afternoon and not everyone is wasted or too tired to think.
Overall, you have quite a few people on the train that are out of the norm. For instance the girl that peed her pants when taking the Q Train home at 2 AM during a Sunday night. This was back in the days, around 2 years ago, but I still have to think of it on occasion. We were all tired and wound down from a night out and a long week. All except for this one girl, who just couldn’t stop dancing to her music and was wiggling around in her seat. Or so I thought. And then I noticed she wasn’t wearing any head phones or holding an iPod close to her. Her peculiar behavior caught the attention of pretty much everyone sitting close to her by now. Except for the guy on the far end of the bench, who was almost asleep. She jumped up and was dancing up and down on a spot close to the door. Then she was holding her pants. This must have been the point where she gave up because she sat back on her spot and pretended she was sitting on a toilet seat. All of sudden we hear a gushing sound and, sure enough, there she is, peeing on a NYC subway. Not even standing but sitting.
We were all taken by surprise and didn’t know how to react at first. The next stop was close and she got off right there. The guy who was half asleep noticed that something was wrong and jumped to another bench far away from the scene. As soon as the girl got off the train, we lost it. Hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time. The situation had been just too peculiar and strange and completely weird and I am sure not everyone witnesses this even in the Big Apple. She tried to hide behind a map outside – a cop was also patrolling the station. He didn’t know what we were laughing about but that was when the train doors shut again. I really wonder what was going on in this girl’s head and why she did not at least open up the doors in between cars to pee there (which would have been the more sound solution, as my friend pointed out after hearing the story).
And not to forget the bipolar girl who at first complimented an Irish couple with their baby on how sophisticated their European accent sounded. But the next minute she turned around and yelled at a guy who was holding on to the same pole to better get his magazine out of her face or otherwise something bad would happen. The poor man did not know what to say at first (his magazine was way out of her reach, not to say face), and the Irish couple crept far away from her (not to be beaten up next).
Wheeew, the subway in New York – it’s definitely a circus going on beneath the city. Since almost everyone takes it at some point in time and since almost everyone relies on it as a means of travel, you have quite an accumulation of characters on one small speck of train. Every once in a while you get the crazies. But as soon as the funnies board the subway you see how much worth it is taking. For instance this picture I took yesterday: Flower girls with the widest hats possible addressing Cinco de Mayo in their own special way. Things like these brighten my day and make me love taking the F or Q or A or anything else all around town!
And back to the red-haired lady: I am still wondering what would have happened if I had yelled back at her. She never tried to physically attack me, only with her looks and screams.
Yell at me once, your fault. Yell at me twice, my fault. Yell at me thrice, be prepared for a nice loud REVENGE! AAAAW!