Monday, August 1, 2011

From The Shuffling Madness

We goofed on the train on the way down to the Lower East Side. While most of the other commuters rode with their earbuds in, shutting it out, I was straining to listen and taking it in. Of course, I was only visiting.

I made stupid faces for my sister-in-law's camera.

I thought of a story I recently heard on the radio, set in this city, of a man falling onto the tracks while in the grip of a seizure directly in front of an oncoming train. Many people saw this happen and looked on, I imagine, helplessly. One man, there with his two young daughters (4,6), jumped down to try to help as the train hurdled toward them. The seizing man was limp and could not be moved. The train could not stop. The intervening man laid the man down between the rails and then covered the man's body with his own. The train passed over them, breaks squealing, finally coming to a stop with the two men somewhere underneath. The little girls screamed. The on-lookers looked on.

Both men were unhurt, and the radio show went on to investigate why, in times such as these, some people act heroically while some do not act at all. What is the thought process? The motivation?

I like to think it is some kind of inborn nobility. On top of the rest of the mess, we are more good than not. But that rings of mythology, simplistic, and I'm just not sure.

We find a Nepalese restaurant where the food is cheap, simple and excellent. The people running the place are working hard. They have come very far to engage in this struggle -the American Dream. My companions go for vegan options, while I seek out meat. It's a small place and a crowd of people come in. They're loud. Listening, I feel as though I can write the dialogue before they speak it - stereotyped, flat, moronic. I scowl, as do my companions, not because we have anything against them, really. It's just that we wish we did not have to endure their fake good time.

Vitriol, Senhor Coelho might say. Not good.

I wanted to ask each of them who in their group would they cover with their body to protect them from the harm of an oncoming subway train. That'd sober them up. But instead I ask what's wrong with me, and where the hell my vision of nobility went.

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