My dear friend John Bligh once accurately described me as "a magnet for the crazy," thanks to the unstable/insane being drawn to me on the street or subway, in my romantic misadventures, or just about anywhere you can name. Today on the R train back to Brooklyn, a Top 5 example of this phenomenon just took place and here are the details:
I boarded the train at Union Square and one stop later a handsome young black man of perhaps twenty-five or so took the seat directly across from mine. He was well-groomed, sported matching diamond ear studs, a fancy black leather jacket, nice shoes, and a huge buddhist rosary around his neck. Less than a stop after he boarded, he looked at me and shouted "Did you say 'cut your own head off?'" Startled, I looked up from my book, and said,"What???" to which he again asked "Did you say 'cut your own head off?'" only that time with a venomous edge to his tone. I looked him square in the eye and stated an unequivocal and firm "NO." He looked at me oddly and slowly sat back as the train made its way onto the bridge, where it of course slowed down before sitting unmoving for several minutes. During that time and the time that was left in the journey, the guy fairly radiated escalating levels of hostility and madness, and here is a loose transcript of much of what he had to say, looking directly at me with what appeared to be drug-reddened eyes and vehemently gesturing the whole while, totally ignoring the fact that I was ignoring him while attempting to continue with my reading:
"Yeah, Yolanda...YOU started that shit. I would strongly advise you fix it... Yeah, what all you motherfuckers did to me wasn't right. You wanted to cut a motherfucking piece outta me, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU?!!? And I can't do nothin' about it because then you'd put me in the prison for six months and then the psych ward for three months, and I say fuck THAT shit! (stops for about a minute to lean his head between his legs and tightly squeeze the sides of his skull like he was in pain) This shit is all because of Jay-Z and Fitty Cent...They wanted to cut the fucking voices outta my head...But I'm tired. Tired from working to make something outta myself! (reaches into pocket and pulls out what is apparently a homemade rap CD) Stupid, ignorant niggers... I wanna punch some of these white boys in the face but if I did they'd start a racial profiling, then they'd put me in the prison for six months and then the psych ward for three months... (train of thought interrupted by a subway announcement; turns and looks up at the speaker from which the announcement issued) FUCK YOU!!! All these motherfuckers running around like chickens with they heads cut off...Motherfucking Christmas..."
There was more, a LOT more, but that's all I can recall with complete clarity. Then, after what seemed like a short eternity, the train finally pulled into the Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center station, and the young man got off. But before he left entirely, he held the subway car's door open with his foot, pointed right at me and exclaimed, "I was saying all of this to YOU, man!" I pretended not to be paying attention and asked "What?" to which he repeated "I was saying all of this to YOU, man!" And with that, he marched down the platform, there to wait for an approaching D train. When the doors closed and the train took off, a guy who'd been sitting next to me when the rant began but who'd wisely moved further down the car looked at me with a horrified expression on his face, as if to say "Jesus, what a fucking freakshow!" I simply looked at him and said "Dude, it seems to be my karma to forever be a sounding board for the insane."
This incident was right up there with a weekday afternoon a few years back, when some random Hispanic chick boarded the train, obviously wasted out of her mind on a cocktail of booze and some unknown pharmaceuticals, sat down across from me and stared at me as though she were trying to bore a hole in my head with her gaze. After about three minutes of her staring, she asked me "Are you single?" I responded in the affirmative and she shot back with "If you was my boyfriend, I'D CUT YOUR DICK OFF!!!"