Monday, January 26, 2009

Thoughts Before Passing Out

Given a choice, I’ll opt for the bus over the subway. True, this may increase travel time—as much as twenty minutes additional. But what’s lost in efficiency, it’s more than made up by scenery. Once—out the window of the M103—I caught two bums, the first urinating on the second. The second, of course, sleeping hard. At the light, corner of Fourteenth and Third, I saw even steam rising off the hot flow. I guessed, when bum number two woke, he’d find himself stuck. Glued to the sidewalk by frozen piss.

Contrast that scene, if you will, with the regular view from the Six Train. Black tunnels interrupted by cement platforms. Nothing really. I don’t mean vagrants avoid the subway, far from it. The subterraneans, though, tend toward a couple flavors. First, the two dollar hotel guests, sleeping on the train—often stirring but never waking. Their sandaled feet caked in shit. Second, the folk intent to sing, tell stories, bemoan. Panhandlers really. To cope with these, I recommend headphones.

Now, I’m reminded of a particular ride. Into Brooklyn on the L Train. Somewhere between First Avenue and Bedford, passing underwater—no escape—one passenger rose and addressed the crowded car. Dressed well enough, this man, probably not homeless. He kept on, orating all through the tunnel and three stops into the BK. Of what he spoke, I don’t know—I was grooving to Journey on my iPod. But his arms flailed and he made eye contact with near everyone. Finished, he collected—not linty change—but dollar bills. A fist full of moist cash. I offered nothing—but thought about donating a five-shot if he’d run through his story again. So affecting I imagined it. I didn’t, but it was a good idea. I’m full of good ideas.

On the subject of good ideas, here’s another. Fights with the wife, they’re unavoidable. Mainly because of the drinking. Not about the drinking. But because of the drinking. Like how last month I might have let the C-word slip in reference to her mother. Might have. Don’t remember. Based on hearsay really. That, and the fact I woke on the couch. So much I remember. And my point: when she decrees a night on the sofa my fate—and it happens man, it happens. What I tell the kids is, Daddy’s got a cold. Daddy doesn’t want to make Mommy sick. Daddy will be a good boy and sleep on the couch. This, it saves the little guys some worry. And bonus: come morning, with a major hangover, faking ill ain’t all too hard.

And other good ideas too. Bottles worth. When the days move slow and the nights are alive. And each day gives birth to wilted promise. Bottles worth. Each night I can taste something fresh. Even if it won’t digest. And, if I may be candid, that is my story: I drink. And for a handful of fuzzy moments, dreams cease to be dreams. I am the splendor. The fulfillment of the unfulfilled. Bottles’ worth. And I forget, not just who I am, but the evolution I always expect. I can enjoy triumph unearned. I have so many idas.


dave hambidge said...

I have commuted by both Underground in London and surface bus. The latter beats the former everytime for street entertainment value. (At least it did between 1978 and 1986!)

Only two decades ago. I'm old.


PS RSS by atom doesn't seem to be working for me.

Leroy J. Powers said...

see.. what happens to you on the train.. happens to me on the bus... LOL