Sunday, February 15, 2009

Scum of the Subway

Perhaps New York can't celebrate a day of love without following it by a day of crude rudeness. Maybe it was trying to compensate for a full day without anger, cynicism and the occasional hint of misogyny. All I know is the Big Apple was in rare form today. The traditional hustle and bustle resumed- hurried steps, eyes down, chin to chest to avoid the harsh winds.
It was well past midnight and after struggling to find a non-gated subway entrance, I burst down the stairs, glad to be out of the cold. As usual I was waiting an unjust amount of time for the shit blue line train to arrive. I sat down on the wooden benches and more or less twiddled my thumbs. Next to me, not sitting, but rather perched on the bench was a relatively normal looking man in his mid 30s. Glasses, clean brown sweatpants and matching hoodie with some embroidery on the back. Not the image of refinery, but certainly not homeless.
Two pretty young girls (I'd guess between 16 and 19) walked by.
"Hey baby, this yo sister? You two sisters? mmmm I like sisters"
"Shut up and leave me alone," snapped the older one as she continued to walk by.
He exploded.
"Fuck you, mothafuckin slut. You need a dick in yo mouth ho. You betta shut the fuck up before I punch you in the mouth. Slap yo wrists till ya hands fall off. I'll knock your fuckin heads off bitches. Fuckin bitches. Whatchyou gonna do about it bitches? Yall are nothing but mothafucking bitches. Yall can't do shit. "
The two teenagers were already gone, but I was still sitting next to him. I wanted to jump out of my seat, break his nose, and tell his suddenly repulsive face that I hated him and everything he stood for. That he was the lowest form of human. That he was scum of the subway I step on.
But I couldn't move. I was frozen with fear. And suddenly I felt it. This was the fear that forced women into submission for centuries. It was a deep rooted animalistic fear that you were actually in physical danger. That violence could erupt at any moment if you don't stand very still and divert your gaze.
The damn train came at last and I made sure I was on another car. But the damage was done. I felt hungry eyes on me from all directions. I felt violated. I felt dirty and worthless. But most importantly, I felt a century of history and progression evaporate before my eyes. And it was that which truly frightened me.

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