I can’t believe I almost got beat up on the subway yesterday for bringing home a bag of holiday gifts. Who knew that you’re not allowed to carry anything on to the subway. I mean, I’ve watch people bring bikes on to the subway. I’ve watched musicians play instruments on the subway. I’ve even listened to countless people asking for money on the subway bring shopping carts filled with goods for the homeless.
Ah, but my tote bag was too much for this woman standing next to me.
I guess my Strand Bookstore tote bag, that was given to me earlier in the day, touched her leg as the subway was filling up with passengers at the 34th Street station. She started to yell at the top of her lungs, “stop touching me, will you please stop touching me….” Since I had no idea the tote bag was touching her leg, I did what I would normally do when someone starts screaming in the subway — I ignored her.
Well, clearly, the worst thing you can do on a subway (besides accidentally touching someone’s leg with a tote bag) is to ignore them. This set her off. Now she starts really yelling. Arms start waving. This is when she pushes me into fellow passengers on the subway.
This is when things got a little crazy. Other passengers are now getting mad — at me — for not moving away from this crazy woman. They start yelling at me — “will you just move” “stop touching her” “what’s going on!”
I thought I was in some strange foreign film. Is this really happening to me?
Now the woman begins spitting on people. Not me (whew), but anyone around her. This got the subway car to clear out pretty quickly. People start ducking out of the way. Yelling even louder. It was nuts.
Oh, I should have mentioned — I was only going one stop to 42nd Street.
At this point, I was never happier to get off the subway. When the doors opened at 42nd, I got out, headed to the shuttle, and had a relaxing trip to Grand Central.
So, I never really got into a fist fight. I was pushed. Spit. Yelled. Cursed. And shoved. But no blows were landed.
I blame the Strand Bookstore tote bag. I mean who carries a tote bag anymore?