Sinister Harlequin Disrupts Transit

It’s amazing anyone looked up from their phone and noticed.

Photo: D. Billy

I have shared this story before, but several summers ago, back in the bygone days when the L still traveled between Manhattan and Brooklyn, I was headed into town when we pulled up at the Bedford Avenue stop and a woman, whose entire outfit down to the boots was completely white, stepped onto the train. Oh, also her skin was sprayed with white paint and her face was fully whited up. It was the middle of summer and the car’s air conditioning was weak, and as White Woman approached the pole I was holding on to, my only thought was, “Oh, fuck, is this lady gonna sweat white paint on me?” (Reader, she did not.)

It was only later, when I was safely back in town, that I thought, “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU that you can stand next to a woman who is head-to-toe white and the only thing you wonder about is whether or not some of it is going to get on you?” But this is the way we get around here in New York. You focus on what will move you along as quickly as possible and how any anomalies will affect you. So I have to say that if I got on a train where a knife-wielding clown was blocking one of the exits, I would probably just move to another door to get off and then yell at myself later for forgetting to refill my MetroCard as I exited the station. Hey, you know what I’ve always wondered? Why don’t they have MetroCard machines on the platform? It is the one time during your travels where you can be sure that adding value to your card will not cause you to miss a train. It seems like the most sensible solution to the issue, and if you tell me, well, they don’t want to have it down on the platform where there’s no one to help you if things go wrong I will say, how many people do you notice in the stations above these days offering assistance, and also mind your own business, I wasn’t talking to you. Anyway, where was I? Oh, right, I guess there was a clown on a train? BFD. Call me when there are six clowns, and they start off by saying, “It’s showtime, ladies and gentlemen!” That’s when I’ll pay attention.