As a visitor to New York you must have seen the panhandlers and various nut jobs that are sprinkled in each carriage, just to keep you on your toes. This is New York, this is edgy! Some of them really take the biscuit don’t they? There’s the “I’m homeless and need money for food,” usually believable since they look shabby and some people just look like they are homeless. Then there’s the” I’m raising money to buy t-shirts for my basketball club,” usually by selling M&M’s from a tattered cardboard box. Well, excuse me but where did the box come from I wonder, probably boosted from somewhere so that’s a definite no-no. Just look away, don’t make eye contact, and no one will get hurt!
Some are more believable, those with a lanyard of credentials around the neck, a more authoritative voice, raising money for food for homeless people. OK I’ll buy that, here’s a dollar. I’m unemployed but I won’t miss a dollar.
Then there are the nervous nellies. There was one on the subway today, nicely dressed but quite afraid, looking at the same spot, refusing to make eye contact in case her fear showed. Must be a recent implant, she’s heard all about the subway from her parents, corn farmers in flyover country. Poor thing, will she make it?
I almost forgot the cyclists. Ah yes, Mr. Bike Rider. It’s difficult to look nonchalant when your bike takes up at least three places, with your pedals banging into my ankles all catty-corner across the open door area. Well Mr. Bike Rider, if that’s your bike why don’t you take it off this crowded subway car and ride it! What do you think it’s for? Whaddya mean it’s raining, leave the bike at home. Simples. End of.
And let’s not forget the urban recycler. My, my, what a breed these people are. Collecting plastic containers to trade for the bottle deposit. At least that’s what the above-ground guys do. One time on the subway, I kid you not; a man was pushing some sort of industrial kitchen equipment on wheels which had to have been six to seven feet long. Quite deftly he maneuvered it into the car, fortunately half empty, as we all looked on in amazement, what was it and where was it going? This was no small feat, let me tell you. And you know what, he was so polite, excuse me sir, if you could just move…..it was like watching someone trying to parallel park a Sherman tank in a space for the MINI.
What’s more incredible is how he got it off the streets, down the stairs, and around the corners (MTA subway entrances are not known for their airy spaciousness!) How did he get it through the turnstile, and if he pushed open the buzzer gate, what was the station agent thinking? Did he pay the fare I wonder? Inquiring minds need to know.