Riding the Subway, Living the Dream

8 Oct

Today I was sitting around thinking about my love/hate with the New York City public transportation system.  As any good New Yorker does, I have lots of complaints about the system’s shortcomings.  It runs slow basically all the time but especially when you’re in a rush.  Because of snow.  Because of rain.  Because it’s too hot.  Because someone didn’t drink enough water and passed out.  Because of train traffic ahead of us.  Because of a police investigation at 34th street.  Despite all the frustration some of my funniest, or at least most memorable, New York moments have happened on the subway. Let’s climb into the way-back machine and walk through my most favorite ever subway experience.

Thanksgiving weekend 2007. I was on the subway on my way to work the night shift at my bar.  It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving and I was weighed down with bags from spending a good 4-5 days at home in New Jersey.  I smelled something funny and looked over and saw a guy huddled in his seat eating what appeared to be heated up Thanksgiving leftovers.  Okay.  Not my most ideal venue for eating but whatever, that’s cool.  I went back to staring blankly through the window into the darkness of the subway tunnel.  All of a sudden I felt something small hit me.  Then again.  And again.  I looked down at the floor and saw, rolling around, a few green peas.  I turned around and saw that the man with the leftovers was sitting there, staring at me, holding a plastic spoon in his hand and methodically launching his overcooked peas at me across the near-empty train car.  I was stunned.  I looked around, trying to see if anyone else had (a) been the victim of assault by pea or (2) had seen what was happening and could give me some clue as to the best way to respond because this guy was clearly a little looney.  No one seemed to have noticed.  I got hit in the forehead with another pea.  I said, loudly, and to no one in particular

Hello?  Anyone?  Does anyone see what is happening here?

An older lady who I had previously thought was sleeping lifted her head ever so slowly, looked at me, looked at the man, looked back at me and said, calmly,

He’s flicking peas.

I threw my hands up in the air, sending a pea that had gone unnoticed on my shoulder tumbling to the floor.

Yes! Exactly!  He is flicking peas!

And then, at a loss of what to do I looked back at the window, catching the man’s reflection in the darkness and watching to see when he might launch his next attack. My stop couldn’t come soon enough.  I grabbed my bags, looked over my shoulder in utter disbelief, and hustled off to my job.  I arrived at work a few moments later, anxiously awaiting the opportunity to share my experience.  I greeted my co-worker, wished her a happen belated Thanksgiving.  She smiled for a second and then screwed up her mouth and said,

Um…what is in your hair?

Clearly, it was a pea, nestled safely into one of my braids.

2 Responses to “Riding the Subway, Living the Dream”

  1. Arielle October 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm #


    • FranklyRebekah October 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      I think this is not only my favorite subway story but my favorite story. Of life. Period. I can’t believe I never told you!!

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