It seems like there’s an endless number of crazy people in New York City, and an endless variety of the types of craziness they may be suffering from. I encountered another one tonight on my way home, on the train this time.
I had to stand for the first leg of the trip, but when we reached the 1st stop, a seat was freed up, so I moved to sit down. It was one of the benches at the end of the train car, where there are only two seats in the row. The other seat, the one closer to the front of the train car, was occupied by a small black lady, dressed fairly regularly, gnawing on a lollipop like a crazed beaver trying to gnaw down a tree. I figured she looked harmless enough so I took the other seat.
I’d barely sat down when the woman said, “Oh you can sit down, but I have big legs so watch that you don’t sit on my legs.”
I wasn’t sure I heard her right, so I asked her if she could repeat herself.
“I have big legs. You can sit, but you have to be careful that you don’t sit on them.”
I looked at the woman’s legs. They were shorter than mine and no bigger than any other average sized person. She was actually a small woman. So, of course, I realized she’s crazy and I had to defuse her craziness so that she wouldn’t turn into a violent lunatic and make the next few minutes on the train unpleasant.
“Oh, don’t worry. I won’t sit on your legs. I’ll just mind my business over here and play a game on my phone.”
I had indeed been planning to play a game on my phone. I’d downloading something during my break where you try to free a particular block from a puzzle to clear a stage. I had my phone in my hand already and had opened the game. I was hoping that this would cause the woman to realize that I didn’t want to bother her, and that I was preoccupied and not ready to talk to her.
Instead, it backfired.
“Oh, games! I like games! What game is that? It’s some new one huh?”
She then proceeded to reach over and start pushing buttons below the screen on my phone. I thought about getting up and moving away but you never know what might happen, what a crazy person might say, do or have on them that could be potentially lethal to the innocent sane people around them, so I decided the best way to get past the problem was to just humor her.
So, I sat there, trying to explain to her that she had to use the touchscreen to move the pieces. I didn’t let go of my phone of course, and it was sort of amusing to watch this old woman getting pissed off over a touch screen game where the blocks only move in certain directions. She couldn’t seem to figure that out. Horizontal blocks only move horizontally and vertical blocks only go vertically.
“What the fuck? You do this. Move that motherfucker right there over that way. Get that block out of the way. How the fuck does this thing work? This shit won’t move!” She was stabbing at my phone with her bony fingers, cursing, getting irritated, and still gnawing on her lollipop. I saw several sprays of saliva fly from her mouth, thankfully onto the floor, and just as I thought I was going to have to risk her flipping out and accusing me of everything from picking on an old lady to racism to having a magic game that fucked her over, or perhaps swinging at me with her bag, the train pulled into the next station, my station, and I excused myself and got off the train.
As I exited the train I heard the woman say, “You have to be careful with your bags if you’re going to sit down. I have big legs.”
And a woman replied, “Oh, did I hit your legs with my bag? I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s just that I have…” I heard her saying, and then I was too far away to hear.
I think from now on, I’ll just stand. Or at least not sit next to anyone past the age of 40. It’s only two stops anyway.