We’ve all had one of those days. You know the kind, when things go from bad to worse? For me, that day was yesterday.
I should have known from the moment I woke up that my day was doomed. I rose from my not so peaceful slumber only to remember my dream (or nightmare) that starred my childhood music teacher. Ten years out of high school, and her presence still haunts me. In terms of dream symbolism, I file her under the category of stifled creativity.
Makes sense. Lately, the only thing I can compare my creativity to is a blocked artery. The creative juices are there, but the flow is clogged, often severing the natural order of day-to-day processes.
But, I digress. After a shower, a mediocre business meeting (buh-bye creativity), getting trapped in the rain, ruining a perfectly good pair of shoes, spilling coffee on my shirt, and, of course, fraud that shut down my debit card, I hoped my day would turn around.
Although it took me about an hour to get there, and another round of singing (or grunting) in the rain, I arrived at my 8:00 PM dance rehearsal. My two-hour reprieve from one hell of a day. For those two hours I felt my creativity release through abstract motion. If you’re a dancer, or a runner, or anyone who loves those endorphins, you know what I’m talking about.
The bad day was over! Or so I thought. Really, it was just beginning. At 10pm, I began my journey home from Astoria, Queens, back to the Upper West Side in Manhattan. I took the N train to 57th Street and walked a block towards Columbus Circle to catch my second train. What a beautiful night, I thought, I should just walk home. I would have, but it was getting late, and all I could imagine was my mother and her disapproving eyes glaring at me for walking thirty something blocks in the darkness. Get in a cab, Shelby, with your luck the train will be delayed, or get stuck between stations. The thought was enticing, but I like saving money more than a ride home.
As I entered the subway station, I noticed the gates were guarded by armed men, each carrying a machine gun. There were about 4 officers and one german shepherd. Not an unusual sight in the city, but always a little eerie. As I swiped my MetroCard at the turnstile I wondered if one day they would let me play with the dog – I have a thing for german shepherds.
I finally boarded my last train and got a seat (woohoo) directly across from an elderly African-American man. His white beard fell about 6 inches from his chin. I wondered if it was hard to clean, if it got easily tangled. I always wonder if creatures lay nests in that kind of hair — remember Brad Pitt’s beard a while back?
Oh, the C train. My train. My everyday ride. Three stops from home. That’s all I was. Three stops. That’s when, for the first time, I understood what C stood for. Crazy. I had boarded the Crazy Train. Disrupting my deep thought process about facial hair, the man who I had been analyzing stood up and started screaming. Here we go, I thought, three stops, that’s all I need.
“I’ll pull the cord! I’ll stop this train! Just watch me!” I had no idea what he was talking about. I’ve seen my fair share of oddballs on the subway, but this guy was serious. “That’s illegal! You can’t play dice on the subway! Stop playing dice you [expletive]!” I kept my head down and quietly whispered with the woman next to me about all the crap going on in the world. Before I knew it, the train came to screeching halt. In unison, it seemed that everyone in my car, including me, screamed harmoniously a version of what the fuck! or are you fucking kidding me?
I am now trapped underground between two stations, in a dark tunnel, with a crazy man. Have I mentioned I’m claustrophobic?
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the rest of the world isn’t a quiet little mouse like I am. People started screaming, demanding explanations from the clearly disturbed man. The name calling escalated, the volume level increased. Crazy Man would retreat to his seat and mumble on. He would then often approach any naysayers. “Say that to my face, you fucking f*ggot,” he finally yelled. That’s when I looked up, jaw dropped. You hear a lot of insults thrown around, all the time, everyday, by this one I was not used to. I thought for sure, a fight would break out. But, it did not.
At last, an MTA official walked through the train, talked with the clear suspect, and soon enough, re-started the train. The unanimous decision to have the lunatic thrown off the train was thwarted by the official who didn’t feel like calling the police. Right. That’s great.
At least we’re moving now. Two stops to go. Although we’re in motion, people continue to scream and carry on as Crazy Man keeps on with his diatribe. Finally, a passenger struck a chord with Mr. Crazy. He rose to his feet, fury in his eyes. I watched with great unease as he reached into his pocket and pulled out something metal. Holy shit, I thought, he has a knife, he has a fucking knife.
“Say that again,” he screams, approaching a passenger, “Say that to my face, say it now!”
It was strange. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t in fear. Instead, I was angry. I was really, truly angry. I finally arrived at my stop. what usually takes about ten minutes took roughly forty-five. As far as I know, no one was stabbed.
“Fucking maniac,” I mumbled as I got off the train and onto the platform. “Good fucking luck,” were the words that spilled out of my mouth to an innocent passenger about to board. I stomped with fury out of the station and up to my apartment. As I opened the door to my lounging fiance, I flung my bag on the floor and started a furious rant of my own. Confused by my relentless pacing and unusual attitude, Ryan pressed me for details. “Just relax. It’s the city, this happens all the time,” he said. People might lose it a lot, but this was my first knife sighting.
To relax the crazy train in my brain, I showered, wiggled my way into bed and got lost in an episode of BBC’s Doctor Who, my newest addiction. As for the C train, I think I’ll take today off. Hopefully the 1 will suffice.