This afternoon as I sat in my room sweating profusely, and debating whether or not to turn on my AC unit, I instead decided to take a trip and enjoy the free AC on the subways. So I grabbed a book–Dante’s The Inferno–slung the satchel over my head and started stepping for the bus stop. As I was riding to the subway I decided on taking a long trip out to Coney Island. It would give me plenty of time to read, and then hopefully Coney Island would be mildly entertaining. Looking back it’s amazing how journeys end up breaking down. While my trip out to Coney Island was completely uneventful, once there everything changed, and weird things kept happening right until I got home.
I had decided to take the local train out to Coney Island so that by the time I got there I was able to get to the fifth ring of hell in The Inferno. The first stop once I got off the train was to get some lunch. I decided on grubbing up a carne asada burrito. While I was waiting for my burrito to be made I thought about how cool it would be if I could use the Jedi mind shit to make the cashier think that I had already paid her. After a few minutes of trying to influence her mind I quit. A few minutes later my burrito was done and she looked down at my order and wrote next to it “pagando.” I couldn’t believe it, she looked at me smiled, told me to enjoy, and then walked off. Well that’s where I pussied out. Although, this was what I was trying to accomplish for a few minutes, I am actually way to honest, to take something for free. So I called out to her and told her that I hadn’t paid yet. So I shelled out $8 for a burrito that, in the end, was only worth about $4. First off they used Parmesan cheese, used way too much rice, not enough black beans, and there was no guacamole or sour cream. Oh well, I still kind of wish I would have taken the burrito for free, but I’m banking on some good karma to come my way.
After the burrito I decided to take a stroll along the pier and check out the ocean. I don’t know what it is about piers and oceans, but they attract some weird fucking people. There must be some mystical pirate spirits that make people think they have to be all skeevy to go to the beach. I swear some of these people prepare for the beach by not showering for a week. This is true of almost every beach I have been to around the world so it’s some sort of world-wide phenomenon. I don’t get it and it just confirms my overall disdain for beaches in general.
There were two interesting dichotomies on the boardwalk though. There were two bands playing, one on the left side and one on the right side, of the boardwalk. First the band on the right side was a traditional African/Jamaican band. Their first song–and the only one I could stomach–was a tribute to Sean Bell. Now I’m not minimizing the tragedy of what happened, but just how the band chose to deal with it. First off it was poorly written, whoever wrote it needs to read some good poetry or rap, or take a class, the music was militaristic, and the message just flat out sucked. It basically tried to portray anyone of color as oppressed, any white person as the oppressor, and the whole NYPD as Bernard Goetz. Basically I loathe sweeping generalizations and stereotypes so there really wasn’t any redeeming factors about the song. Also let me just say I have friends and family that are cops and I know how hard and thankless the job can be. Despite my previous run in with the NYPD, I don’t hate cops. I don’t trust them, but I also know their job is shitty so I refrain from heaping condemnation on them, especially when the vast majority of them are good, honest people. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
The next band was much better. There were more of a fusion of R&B, Funk, and Reggae. Their sound was good and their writing was light years ahead of the previous band. While the message of their song had similar intonations–about people trying to keep you down–it’s direction was different. They had more of an Obama message: fight on, stay strong, and keep strong in your hope. I like them much better. Unfortunately, for me, the only song I heard was the last song of their set, so I continued on with my journey. As I walked next to the Cyclone I saw this dude who was so fucking drunk he collapsed right in front of a cop. I looked over and the dude was mumbling something on the ground as he lay flat on his back (the way he was splayed out on the ground looked like he was ready for a chalk outline). Finally, the cop helped him up and I laughed and shook my head.
As I was watching that scene unfold this black dude walked up to me carrying a bunch of his CD’s that he was trying to sell. I hoped against hope that he wouldn’t try to sell me one of his CD’s, because I just didn’t feel like dealing with that. Luckily, for me he told me a fantastic story. As I was shaking my head about the drunk, he sauntered over an said “Maaan I could never get that drunk man. Fuuuck that!” “Yeah I know what you mean,” I said “that’s just kind of embarrassing.” This is where he started his great story.
“You know man, where I come from you walk down the street like that,” and he tapped me on the shoulder to look at him do his impression of a drunk walk, “you become a vic man. A fucking vic. If we ever saw some mother fucker walking down the street drunk like that we would fuck them up and rob them, you know?” Just before he launched into the next portion of his story, I slyly swept my hand over my ass to make sure my wallet was still there. He then continued on, “You know, this one time we saw this cat fucking walking down our street. He was dressed to the nine’s. He had this fucking nice suit and tie on and a hat, a beaver hat.” I’m not sure what a beaver hat is, at first I thought of the Davey Crockett hat, but then I remembered that was a raccoon hat. Anyways he kept on talking.
“This motherfucker was so fucking drunk he just let us escort him down an alley where we sat him down and robbed him of everything. Haha, you know, that fucker just looked at us and said ‘you fucking robbed me’ and we just walked off you know.” I couldn’t believe that some random dude who I had know for all of a minute had just told me he had robbed someone blind once. Unbelievable what people will tell you if you give them the opportunity. Then he turned his story into an after school special. “You know man, that is the reason why I don’t drink or do drugs or anything. I saw the way we made victims of those people and I said no way not for me.” I was pretty stunned at this point and told him “well I guess it’s a good thing then in a weird way.” I’m not even sure what that means. I just felt compelled to say something. I mean he told me the reason he doesn’t drink or do drugs is because he used? to rob people that got drunk or did drugs. What do you say to that?
Shortly thereafter he took his leave of me–to go and try to sell some more CD’s–and I took my leave of Coney Island. Dante was much more compelling and interesting, because unlike Coney Island, I didn’t have to smell anything. I hurried up and got back on the N train and dove back into The Inferno. The train was largely uneventful until I got back to Queens. It was there that I transferred to the E and the weirdness began. There was some weird ass white family–I’ll put money down that they were Mormons–who had basically kidnapped the whole train. As soon as I walked into the car I knew I had made a mistake, but I figured it would give me something to write about.
So I sat down and just watched. The dad looked like he wanted to kill himself. He looked so fucking miserable, I almost felt sympathy for him. He had about 8 kids with him. His daughter–who looked about 9–was working the subway pole like a stripper. No shit she was swinging around the pole gesticulating up and down around and around for the whole twenty minutes I was on the train. I wanted to fucking tell the dad “hey if you let her feel comfortable on that greasy pole she’s gonna be riding one permanently in about ten years,” but I decided to keep my mouth shut. He had three other kids that were just raising hell yelling, jumping, and just being little bastards. Everyone on the train was visibly annoyed, but for some reason we all put up with it quietly, and patiently. He had two little boys who were sitting on another bench simultaneously picking their noses and wiping it on their legs, or the bench, or the poles. Disgusting. Every time the dad caught them he yelled, they would stop, he would down in deep depression, and then they would start up again. A vicious cycle indeed. The other strange thing is they had two other boys who, although everyone else was really white, both looked Latino. I know they were all together because of the way they were all interacting together. You can tell when people are comfortable with each other like family. The fact that they were much darker just fucking tweaked out my mind.
Finally, I was able to get off of the train and head to the bus stop. By this time it had started to drizzle again–who is the drizzle?–it had been drizzling intermittently throughout the day, but had not been bad at all. That is until I got off the bus and started my quarter mile walk to my house. Then the skies opened in epically biblical fashion. It rained and thundered like crazy, and I looked over my shoulder half expecting to see an ark come rolling down the street. By the time I got home I was soaked to the bone. I haven’t been in rain like that since the last typhoon I was in–seriously–and it figured it started the only time I was going to be exposed for more that a couple of seconds. Just my luck. Now I feel like I need a drink to cleanse my mind from the riffraff I’ve been exposed to all day.