Literally, not figuratively. I think @ticktock6 would approve of this use of the word literally.
But first: I was asking for it. Kind of.
For the first month I have been back living in NYC, I have been tempting fate and annoying all of Brooklyn with my smiling and my I love NY shtick.
My goofy nerdy happiness about being back in this wonderful city has been sincere and visible. But today it was challenged too. Why? Because a lady – OK, she wasn’t no lady! – a crazy person spit on me this morning on my way to work.
Backing up…today was a Banner Monday. After an 8:30 weekly conference call, I made my way to the office…forgetting my monthly farecard for the subway. And my security pass for gaining access to the office. Oops.
After buying a new farecard (grr), I went on my merry NYC-loving way.
As I was making my daily transfer from the L to the uptown 4/5/6 at Union Square, I noticed a ton of people and a sitting train on the downtown side. Descending the stairs to the uptown trains, I realized that platform was crowded too. When I got to the platform, I realized that there was someone sick or injured on the parked downtown train, and police/EMS seemed to be readying a backboard to remove a person from the train.
Then I heard a woman’s voice proclaiming loudly “that person is dead. DEAD!”
Just after that, the woman bumped into me. And apologized.
My reaction to the statement (not the apology) was somewhere between a wince and a scowl. I had a strong reaction to hearing a throwaway comment like “that person is dead” that isn’t based on fact/first-hand information due to the Telephone-like way it tends to spread.
The woman went ballistic. I would say she did so, linking her apology with my expression, but her actions from that point forward lead me to believe that she isn’t quite that logical in her thinking.
She started going off on me. To be honest, I don’t even recall what she said at first, but I have a [bad] habit of laughing when nutty things beyond my control happen, particularly when there are people watching a situation unfold.
With a huge crowd watching, the woman spit on me before her companion could hold her back.
I think I was still stifling a sarcastic kind of laugh as a bit of the spray hit my left cheek. Fortunately she wasn’t too close to me. The damage could have been worse.
At first I didn’t react. But then rage made my blood boil. I threw my [expensive, iced] latte at her. On some level, I felt proud of my reaction at the time, but upon reflection, I am embarrassed. Something was clearly off with the woman and no matter the circumstances, I should like the person I am and not react to something beyond my control. I should be my best me even when someone is their worst.
The woman’s companion hauled her away, fortunately for all involved. The other people on the platform offered their own two cents in true New York fashion. A disabled veteran told me I was the crazy one, not her, because I didn’t run after her or report her to one of many cops on the scene (I politely told him that I thought the police had their hands full with the injured passenger.). A woman offered me as much of her anti-bacterial sanitizing lotion as I wanted. I gratefully accepted, and yet even without it, I somehow did not feel disgusting. I should have, but I didn’t. People stared at me. I looked back.
The local train soon pulled in and I decided to take it, instead of waiting for the express. The 6 took me north to my stop and when I exited the station at 60th Street, I stopped at Starbucks, bought a fresh latte and took stock.
NYC love, still intact. Not your fault, my dear city.
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