Wednesday, October 29, 2008

what I don't know could kick the crap out of me

Crissy and I were getting coffee together this morning, and she made a crack about my stupid, huge headphones that I had hanging around my neck. Sure, maybe they look a little ridiculous, but the sound! It’s so much better than those crappy little iPod buds.

But it’s not only about the sound. They also protect my innocent ears from the slings and arrows of angry New Yorkers. For example:

It was eight-something in the morning, about a week ago. I was minding my own business, waiting on the subway platform for the 4 or 5 express. As the train rolled in, I joined the usual rugby-scrum for positioning outside the doors as the cars groaned to a stop. Suddenly, I felt someone’s hand on my lower back.


No way that just happened, I thought to myself.


Suddenly, fire truck sirens and fireworks and nuclear explosions are going off in my brain. Few things are more maddening than someone shoving you from behind. One of those things is someone shoving you from behind into the flow of passengers exiting a train. Naturally (because the dude was smaller than me), I leaned back hard and dropped an elbow into him.

Unfortunately, as I did this, my balance shifted into the path of an angry (and much larger than me) take-no-shit-from-nobody black woman exiting the train, who thought I was jockeying for position in her personal space. Without hesitating for ONE SECOND, she lowered her shoulder like a salivating linebacker and put a hit on me that made my teeth clack. I could swear I saw her pupils dilate just before the hit.

Thankfully, I bounced off the little bastard behind me, who was supported by the rest of the scrum, and scurried onto the train. This sent the woman into a rage, screaming obscenities from the platform. Which is where the headphones come in…

I’m sure what she was saying was bad. I’m sure it was aimed at me. By the slack looks on people’s faces around me, I’m sure it was emasculating. But I didn’t hear any of it. Or, I should say, I didn’t hear much of it.

Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that I was listening to The Beatles “Let it Be.” Here’s what I would have heard:

When I find myself in times of motherf*#ker you better run trouble
Mother Mary will beat your sorry motherfu*%in come to me
Seeking words of in my motherfu#*in sight wisdom
Let better not look this way bitch it be…heeeeeee!

Though under any other circumstances this 6-second crisis would surely have destroyed the rest of my day, thanks to my trusty headphones, I could not have cared less.

And it only took about a half-hour for my back sweat to dry.

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