Monday, September 7, 2009

It's Not You, It's The Douchebag

Sometimes on days I have no assignments, I like to just hang out in the subway. Subway platforms are a great way to pick up unassigned jobs, 'cause there's never any shortage of human animosity or frustration. Today I saw something really blatant. On one side of the platform is the local train, the express on the other. This young guy had just gotten on to the express train when the local pulled in. Apparently he preferred the local, because he got up to run out when the door closed. Hoping the door would reopen before it closed for good, he waited by it on the left hand side, as there was another man standing in front of the doors on the right. The man looked rather innocuous, fifties, portly, glasses and overall relaxed demeanor. But when the doors did indeed open and the first guy jumped out to catch the local, the older man reached out with his arm bent and hit him with his forearm. Not hard, but since the kid was moving fast to catch the other train, it made a bit of an impact. He was fuming, but unable to retaliate without missing the local, which he furiously jumped on.

I'd seen the whole thing, and followed the guy onto the local. Sympathetically, I said, "Wow, I saw what that guy did." And he goes, "What the fuck? I mean, why the fuck would he do that? It's not like I'd ran into him or anything."

So I said, "You know, you have to wonder what's going on in that guy's life that he would feel compelled to do something like that." The kid goes, "Yeah," and I just continued, "He's probably really unhappy. Or just went through something frustrating. It's actually kind of sad. No normal person would do that. The guy's suffering somehow."

The kid smiled and said, "I hope so." So I said, "You know, it's not really important knowing why people act the way they do, it's just recognizing that they're the ones with the problem. I know that sounds like bullshit reassurance, but trust me, whatever he's going through is gonna take a lot more to fix than a shot to your arm." The kid looked intrigued and shrugged his shoulders and I just got off at the next stop. I think it eased his temper, I wished Marley'd been there so I could know for sure. When I told her about it later, she asked, "What would you have done if that'd happened to you when you were alive?"

I said, "Probably screamed 'What the fuck?!' and pounded on the door." She smiled and said, "Yeah, I know you would have." She loves seeing how I've changed, especially since she helped make it happen.

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