I was pleasantly surprised this morning to get on the W train and flop my hiney into one of many available seats. I cracked open the Metro and basked in the soft, noisless calm of a morning commute during a holiday week. Aaaaah.
Then the train rolled up on the Lexington Avenue stop. As we slowly approached the crowded platform, I heard an eerie sound that I couldn't quite place. Could one thousand bunnies be getting mutilated with ice picks on the subway platform? No, no, no...that can't be it. Maybe it was a child screaming, I thought.
Awsome. There's must be an angry toddler, strapped in a stroller against his will, freaking the fuck out and about to be wheeled right into my car, signaling the end of my peaceful ride to work. Great. Thanks, god. Fucker.
I looked through the windows and was unable to see the shrieking little fucker in the crowd. Man, he was mad, huh? And as the doors opened the raspy, phelgm-choked warbles got louder, and then I saw the source of the noise.
It wasn't a child at all. It was a middle-aged woman.
She was clad in a heavy red parka and had short hair and horn-rimmed glasses. Strapped to her back was a brand-new backpack with a NY Jets emblem on it (and they won this week, so I know that wasn't making her upset).
Wait, what? This woman looked like a librarian or a first grade teacher, not some lunatic shrieker.
And yet. As the doors closed, encasing this horrified, psychotic littler person in the car with us, she continued to pour forth a bone-chilling shriek, kicking occasionally at the heavy metal subway doors with her sneakered feet. From time to time I could make out some form of a sentence in her shrieking: "NONONOIDON'TWANNA", or something to that effect.
It was creepy and sad, but New Yorkers have a way of deciphering right away when a crazy person is dangerous, or just a run-of-the-mill spectacle we simply shouldn't make eye contact with. This lady was clearly the latter, as was evident in the way the commuters (myself included) eyed her with mild curiosity, then calmly inserted our ear buds and cranked up our ipods.
Now, I couldn't help feeling a little badly about this (I'm Italian, and also was rasied Catholic, so guilt is sort of my stock emotion most of the time, but still); I felt bad that our first instinct is to ignore someone right in front of us with an obvious mental illness. The mommy in me wanted to walk up to the woman and wrap my arms around her until her screaming ceased. I wanted to just hug the shit out of whatever inner child was reliving a terrible trauma continuously on the MTA for all of early morning NYC to see.
I'm not gonna stand on some soap box and expound on the ills of a society that treats the crazies of the world with antipathy and disdain. The whole thing just struck me as sad, is all. I'll leave it at that.
4 days ago