Last Monday, I came home late, near the midnight hour, after watching a tennis match at Madison Square Garden. I had an angry fire throat and a pesky cough. I rode the F train and wished desperately for sleep.
The train was crowded but I’d managed a seat while Tyler hung at the pole, and I stared through the cracks of coats and bags, watched as across the way, two burly passengers — like a children’s book, one short and wide, the other large and long — smashed together into a seat like two cymbals gonging.
There was an immediate confrontation. The two-seater was suddenly not large enough for all three: the wide one, the long one, and the bag the wide one insisted upon slapping upon the bench. There were accusations flung.
You didn’t ask if you could sit here!
I don’t have to ask!
And over and over, this is a public space, man. This is a public space.
I watched as both of them refused to move and, instead, sat uncomfortably squashed. The wide one clutched his bag beside him, stared straight ahead. The long one smooshed himself between the railing and his enemy, trying to read a newspaper. He looked like sausage oozing out of the casing, his impossibly long arms bent and woozy, as they awkwardly crinkled the unruly pages.
On our walk home, Tyler and I laughed at their stubborn, crunched up silence.
I would have snapped a portrait if I could. A New York postcard.