Tuesday, August 24, 2004

If you meet the Buddha on the subway, kill him

Not only are we close to Jamaica Pond [Seattleites: think Greenlake, but with fewer people] but we're also close to the Arnold Arboretum, 265 acres of park-y goodness. Not only is it a beautiful park, it's also not crowded at all because very few people actually make the trek out to Jamaica Plain -- Christina and I were there with our friends Jules and Lisa on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and found ourselves walking through it without seeing anybody else for minutes at a time. There are definite advantages to living a bit outside the most popular areas [ie Cambridge, Brookline, Backbay etc].

Of course, one of the disadvantages of this is that we spend more time on the train, which means we're exposed to a lot of the, uhm, idiosyncracies of public transportation, like:

- Rain drives the crazies underground. On one leg of a subway ride last Saturday, when it was raining heavily, we were in the subway with an old guy, who for no apparent reason, started yelling obscenities at a couple of middle-aged women sitting next to us. There was liberal use of the 'f' word in combination with the word used in non-polite company when referring to a prostitute. When we got off that train, we were met on the next platform by another loony who was dancing around with his fists in the air asking every man whether he wanted to get into a fistfight with him. When nobody took him up on that enticing offer, he started strutting up and down the platform yelling things like "I was a Black Panther !", "I'll put a cap in your ass !", "Who thinks they're bad ?" and, my personal favorite: "When you look at me, you look at death !" While this was amusing for a while, eventually it got annoying enough that I entertained notions of taking away his walking stick and beating him with it, but I thought that would be a bit unsportsmanlike.
- Subway performers can turn the wait for the next train either into a pleasant few minutes or something that haunts you for a long time. We recently had the misfortune to be exposed to a man playing the piano who sang the following lyrics for 10 minutes in a row: "We're having a party; Coke is in the icebox, food is on the table; Just me and my baby, having a good time", accompanied by 3 or 4 2-note chords. Tolerable the first 2-3 times around, when you still hope that that's just the chorus and there are more lyrics to it, but quickly descending into "Can we give him money to shut up ?" when it becomes obvious that that's the entire song. Just before we left, he'd switched to another song that sounded like a classic: "Don't let your dog bite me". Who knows whether that one had any more lyrics ... Christina still can't get the first song out of her head.


Blogger Affable said...

Ah, the fun of public transportation, how I envy you :) You should track down the piano player and teach him a new song: "badger badger badger .... badger mushroom MUSHROOM" (http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/21/): It's the right size, at least.

11:07 AM  

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