Point Of You
Epically late to work this morning. The subway stopped for a long time, and I refused to get off because I just fucking knew that the second I got off of it, the doors would close and it'd bump along into the city. Eventually, though, the conductor came on to tell us that the train had been discharged and in fact we did all have to get off of the train. I stumbled up the street to the other subway, watching as fancy European guys waltzed out of the subway station and flagged down various black Lincoln town cars, muttering in their big-tongued accents "How much to city?" I passed a bunch of taxis and thought about getting into one because then I'd definitely get to work on time. But then I figured: "Wait, why would I spend money on a taxi? To get to work? That is insane." So I walked really fast and in big huge strides the 20 blocks to the other subway. I'm wearing really heavy shoes today, it was hard. And when I got to the platform, a train had just left and I was really feeling like I'd made the wrong decision to not take a taxi or something. But then the train came and it was the new M train, which means I wouldn't have to transfer. And it was air conditioned. And there were seats.
I sat across from a medium-cute kind of guy in ragged jeans and a white t shirt and a big woven duffel bag that made me think he wished he was a hippie or something. He was good looking but not too. He had long-ish hair, and I have this thing where I don't respect men with long hair. Like: I'm sure you're great, but unless it's very long (past your shoulders) I don't respect you. I'd be delighted to be proven wrong on this-- please!-- but that's what it is. Anyway this cute guy I decided not to respect was sitting across from me flipping through his phone. He has an old-school flip phone like me, no internet e-mail magickal packets for us, no no. He was smiling super hard and giggling, so I guess he was reading a really nice text message or something. And he was smiling and giggling about half the time, and the other half of the time he was staring directly at me and also smiling. SO you know: M train-- way to go, right? Then at fucking Essex St. Some idiot skateboard surfer asshole got on and even though the train was almost entirely empty, sat down next to me, across from the cute dude. (Not even cute, but the cutest person on the train, besides me, that I knew about at that moment even though I kept my sunglasses on because I never want anybody to talk to me, ever).
Look: no offense to skateboarders, their symbolism, or those of you who dig that whole trip. Not hating. But THIS GUY was in the wrong. For one thing, he had his shirt hiked up on one side, revealing a taut little tummy, but not appreciably tauter than my own. He had a blond buzz cut. Is there any worse haircut for a boy than a blond buzz cut? If there is, I haven't seen it. ANYWAYS, he was sitting next to me, totally oblivious, and definitely getting in the way of the vibe magickal eye session between me and the weirdo / cute dude. And I was thinking: "What the fuck is a skateboarder doing on the train? Isn't the whole point of that so that you have your own mode of transportation? Like, isn't that the whole trip? So that you can get your faux-surfer, probably meat-eating, definitely-not-Californian-not-with-that-haircut, poseur ass wherever it is you need to go? Why are you on the train?" Also he even had one of those really wide skateboards, the kind that look like surfboards, which pissed me off even more because I identify, nominally, with Surf Culture, being as I am from Los Angeles (originally) and Surfer Dude being the socially acceptable identity-space for me to inhabit as a child, given my accent / dialect / permanent affect. (Now obviously I make no bones about sounding like a Valley Girl Intelligentsia-- 'Granting Girls Wishes From My Stone Cold Bikini, Yeah'). Also his wide fat ugly surfskateboard was bare wood, not even painted. Like WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOU, EVEN?!
Then I turned to look at him and the skateboarder was staring at his reflection in the window and his mouth was open like he was stupefied. Then I saw that his chin and thigh were both scraped up and so was his torso and I guess that's why he had his shirt rolled up. He was also holding in his left hand a balled up tissue which was slowly soaking up blood from his palm. He turned to look at me cause he saw me staring at him and between his dumbfounded expression and the scrapes all over him he looked like a zombie in one of these recent "funny" zombie movies (of which I am not really a fan yet I always seem to find myself watching zombie movies). So I felt a little bit bad for him cause he was all scraped up. I guess. He was not cute. The guy across from us was still giggling at his phone, smiling at me, and now, alternately, making sad puppy face at the skateboarder. Which made me respect this cute long-haired guy even less. Anyways there was this fantastic tension (as far as I'm concerned) and it was really exciting and an awesome way to start the day until the M train got to 23rd street at which point both Pitiful Skateboarder and Billy the Witch got off, in different directions. Which was also nice.
I feel armed in a way and what I am armed with is something approaching "my heart" or "love." I mean, I don't want to refer to those things ("compassion" works too) as weapons. But, like, maybe thinking of it as a machete which I am using to hack my way through the wilderness. Out here, deep out here in the jungle / forest, people change. And not from isolation. That's this huge misconception, that you change because you're alone. It's totally the opposite, you change because you encounter everything and everyone, and those encounters change you.
And when you measure, or even acknowledge this, then you change yourself.