April 9th, 2007

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Sorry about your car, sir. That’s a bummer. A real bummer, man. Hope it all worked out in the end. Hope you’re returning from Boston with that sweet box of glory. Hope your Easter was swell. I actually celebrated a little bit of Easterness last night. Heather (and to some extent I) threw one of our famous dinner parties. There was a leg of lamb (on the bone), a tofu stir-fry, apple-rhubarb pie, three cheese potatoes, baked carrots, salad, an Easter egg hunt, and fresh tsoureki – a cinnamon, raison bread with hardboiled eggs in it. The eggs are dyed a deep red, and apparently you can find a specific dye made for tsoureki eggs at Greek grocery stores. Oh yeah, we also did a thing where one person had a chest of prizes (mostly candy and stuff) and we cycled through the calendar, each person picking a prize on their birthday. I got a chocolate bar… people later in the cycle ended up with Emergen-C. I think the first person got lip balm.

That was the pleasant, wholesome part of my weekend.

Now I’ll write about a man who claimed his name was Tony Montana. Scarface. Yes, he did have a scar on his face, and yes, he did approach me on the JMZ platform. He showed me a bleach stain on his black corduroy pants. He stood about five feet, four inches. Maybe forty-five years old. Turns out the pants were only three days old. Poor, crazy, little man. He proceeded to point out every article of clothing on his body: generic looking Nike sneakers, trash-picked black cap, faded black leather jacket. It was when he opened the jacket to show it off that I saw the knife on his belt.

The platform was fairly crowded and this was midday on a weekend. I’ll be fine. He pointed to the knife, his baby he called it. Then he took it off his belt and flipped it open holding it out towards me, his other hand held up to his side at face level - what I think of as the knife fight stance. But I intuited he wasn’t interested in stabbing me. I saw a few people look over at us, curious at the strange scene. Tony started explaining why he needed the knife. Sometimes he talks to people and sometimes those people will attack him completely out of the blue for no apparent reason, and those people get stabbed. I figured Tony was crazy, maybe homeless, but now I knew that he had a flavor of insanity that distorts reality so random people on the subway platform who are bored and decide to engage this crazy little man sometimes get stabbed. Still, I kept my cool. I told Tony that I was cool, that he was cool, that I don’t like violence. I kept my eye on the knife but didn’t want to ask him to put it away, didn’t want him to think I thought he was crazy, didn’t want to give him any reason to be paranoid and snap his miswired brain into stab-mode. More people were looking over at us, wondering if this was a dangerous situation or just a weird one. Apparently the latter. Tony, while still brandishing, told me I was in fact cool, no worries. He put the knife away, laughed like we had some inside joke, then slowly strutted down the platform. I casually walked the other way, making sure not be on the same subway car. The whole ride I pictured him busting through the door at the end of the car, looking for me, having decided that yes, I needed to be stabbed, I had wronged him somehow. Luckily, it didn’t happen.


post scriptum: In a work situation you should always introduce yourself over the phone so I don’t have to ask for your email address to try and decipher who you are and what job you’re talking about when you make a vague request.