The Uptown A train comes quickly and I hop on. I sit down, sipping on a homemade gallon of coffee, when I hear, “Man, New York is shit. New York is for scum.” My ears perk up and I go on fight-or-flight NYC alert mode. These are the few minutes you allow yourself to assess just how crazy a person is and if you should minimize physical proximity to them entirely. Most people are harmless. Others are not. For example, a woman went on an unprovoked rampage in a West Hollywood Target last week, stabbing random customers with the butcher knives she was double-fisting. In other words, shit happens. I’d prefer it not happen to me.
One rule I have with potential crazies is “Don’t make eye contact.” I think I learned this when I was younger, although at the time it pertained to rabid dogs and bears, of which lunatics and sociopaths are pretty much the metropolitan equivalent. Because I can’t bring myself to look over at the man, I cannot yet tell if he is having a conversation with himself or the person across from him, who might very well be a shy and/or mute friend of his. I sneak a peak. The man across from him has his eyes closed and is probably thinking the same thing as I am right now. Fuck. It’s official: the man to my right is crazy pants.
As our short train ride continues, Crazy Pants becomes increasingly vulgar, opting to share a tale of two lesbians in a little rap song. “Yo your girl got a girlfriend/ Cherry color whirlwind…” I don’t catch the rest of the rap, but those lines will stick with me forever, not just because it was pretty damn catchy but because of its extremely visual nature.
The train stops. People get off. People get on. Then, out of nowhere … “Another black woman broke under pressure!” The train starts again. I don’t even think we were surrounded by any black women at the time, but Crazy Pants feels a pressing urge to alert his fellow passengers of the plight of this fictitious woman. I exchange a look that is one part humored and two parts concerned with a Russian boy wearing headphones and chiseled cheekbones.
Due to the noise of the rattling subway car, I can only hear partial bits of the stimulating conversation he is having with himself. Had I been able to hear everything pouring forth from his lips, I would probably have moved cars. I did this for the first time the other week when a different schizophrenic was murmuring oddities – although, what creeped me out most about that subway car was the handprint of blood staring at me from the blue bench across from me. The combination of The Soundtrack for Schizophrenia and the possible HIV source in my train made me certain that if ever there was a time I was going to be stabbed at random, this was one of those times.
I keep my eyes resting on the top of my coffee cup and listen.
“How can you have that beautiful body and that beautiful thing between your legs … [train noise] … all you have to do is groom yourself between your legs and shit …. [Increased train nose] … Those white women know what they doin’ … [train nose] … Tennis shit … [train] … Golf courses … [train] … White boys … [more train] … Damn, and then they go and snap under pressure. Damn.”
The Russian boy and I get off at the same time, both of us unfortunately missing what I assume will be a 70 block rant about vaginas, black women, and other observations one talks about when they are bat shit crazy.