Gone are the days when I could walk the streets and passive aggressively deny the neighborhood beggar the meager remains of my paycheck, could ride the train and merely close my eyes to evade the pleads of the less fortunate, who, despite the obvious movement of my eyeballs behind closed eyelids, took the hint and moved along. The times have changed, for I was verbally attacked by a vagabond.
As the 2 train’s car door opened, he entered, pushing a shopping cart filled with his preferred trinkets. Everyone, including myself, watched anxiously as an unlit torch protruded from a mound of blankets, tattered clothes, key chains, and approximately 4 pairs of aged, Puma sneakers. He immediately began the shtick that all New Yorkers have grown accustomed to. He began to work the car as he spewed poetic gibberish that poked fun at every creed and denomination. As the car pulled into every station, the shopping cart with unlit torch and accompanying items, banged into the guardrails, which rattled seated passengers.
Despite my attempts to avoid eye contact, our eyes met in what can only be described as a carnivorous trance. He looked in my direction a few times before, but our mutual gazes hadn’t locked. I was actually heading to Brooklyn College and was dressed in a blazer, jeans and pointy, kitten heals with my hair pulled back into a ponytail. With our gazes locked, he neared me and exclaimed, “You’re a very pretty girl, but you have an ugly attitude.”
What the hell? I was terribly vexed, to say the least and proceeded to argue with a homeless man. My mother always told me to keep my mouth shut in such circumstances, but I just couldn’t help it.
“What? Kid, you’re homeless. You don’t know me from a hole in the wall. How you
know I have an attitude? Please!”
“I know your type. Think you’re too good. High yellow ass.”
“What? Say’s the homeless cat with the torch! You’re homeless, man. You ain’t got nothing on me, freaking nut!”
Should you ever find yourself in a similar predicament, please use caution and not entertain the aimless ramblings of a torch toting nut on the number 2 train. You may have already seen him. Be forewarned.