Lot of people in this city

The other day it was raining when I got out of work and when it’s raining in the afternoon everything’s always a lot grosser, a lot more uncomfortable, everybody’s all wet, but everybody’s doing whatever they can to stay as dry as possible, walking single file around large puddles, carrying around giant umbrellas, even bigger umbrellas, like a golf umbrella, one of those umbrellas that the fruit stand guy uses to protect all of his produce from the rain or the sun, all at the same time, a giant picnic umbrella, really, something you would bring out at the beach to guard you and your family and your ten best friends from the harmful rays of the sun. And I’m a lot taller than everybody else, and I’m never the kind of guy who brings an umbrella to work if it’s not raining in the morning because, what am I, I’m just going to have to permanently carry around this extra two pounds of dead weight every single day? It doesn’t rain that often. If it’s raining in the morning, obviously I’ll bring an umbrella. But I don’t understand where everyone gets an umbrella from when it starts raining in the middle of the day. I go to work in the morning, it’s dry, nobody has an umbrella. I step foot outside in the afternoon, it’s raining, everybody has an umbrella. What did I miss? What am I not doing that everybody else is doing? Because I know for a fact that regular normal non-crazy people don’t just always carry around umbrellas. What else do you have to always carry around? Snow shoes? Maybe an oar in case there’s a flood and you have to hitchhike home on a passing canoe, but the only way they’ll let you on is if you can help with the paddling, and how else would you paddle if you didn’t bring your spare oar? And I’m so much taller than everybody else, so come quittin’ time when everybody races out their doors, trying to beat everybody else in the city to the subway, I’m standing at direct eye level with everyone else’s giant umbrellas, and I’m just constantly avoiding getting my eyes poked out, and because I’m so nervous about those umbrella spokes which, why are they so sharp and pointy anyway, I don’t notice all of the puddles, and of course I didn’t bring my galoshes, so my feet are soaked, and on these rainy afternoons the rush hour commute just feels a lot more crowded, like when people get wet they just expand, and they get slower, and crankier, and I can’t get my metrocard out of my wallet because my fingers are wet, and the plastic that the metrocard is made out of, it completely loses its grip when wet, but it doesn’t matter because there’s a huge line at the turnstile, because it takes people forever to fold up their umbrellas, keep the line moving, put away their umbrellas, shake out the excess water right on my feet, but my feet are already wet so, whatever, keep trying with the metrocard, nobody can really get a grip, and then going underground, on this particular day, really it was very frustrating, but this guy finally just screams out something like, “Jesus fucking Christ! You fucking people need to learn how to fucking move! Fuck fuck fuck!” and I’m just looking at this dude screaming his crazy screaming in the middle of the subway platform and he looks just like me, just like some guy who doesn’t want to be where he is so badly that the stress and the pressure boils over and it just gets to him and he starts shaking his fists at the universe, and I just started getting really angry at this guy, I really considered yelling back because, what the hell? Do you think you’re the only person inconvenienced by this mob of slow moving human beings? Or the weather? Or being wet? Or feeling uncomfortable? He was mad and he got to express himself and now I was mad and I wanted to express myself, but what would I say, “Shut the fuck up asshole!” or “Why don’t you just calm down there pal?” How confrontational would I get? And nobody ever expects these things to work out. It’ll only just escalate. And we’re underground and what happens if things got heated and somebody got pushed and, you know what? Let that guy have his little temper tantrum. I bet he feels like a big man, telling everybody off, telling everybody to stop getting in his way, making his life a little bit more inconvenient than it had to be. You know what I should have said? I should have said, “Listen buddy, why don’t you move someplace far away from the city, where there are no people to get in your way, someplace real dry, where it never rains, and where nobody has to work, and nobody has to commute, and then you won’t be pissed off. That’ll solve all of your problems my friend.” Actually, no I wouldn’t have said that either. That would have been really way too long and there’s no way I would have gotten all of that out without him interrupting me, going back at me, and then I would have gotten all flustered and my blood would have started to boil and I wouldn’t have known quite what to say so I’d just start saying things like, “Oh yeah?” but really loud, because volume always trumps substance. But that would have led to a path towards escalation also and, one time I read this article about how when too many human beings are close together and they start getting pushy that actual waves of energy start running through the crowd, like currents, like people can get crushed, lifted right out of their shoes, and then who gets charged with murder, everyone? Can you try several hundred people for the murder of one person? And how many sentences are we talking about, does everybody take turns in jail for a day or are we talking about individual multi-year sentences? Yeah, I did the right thing. I kept my mouth shut. Somebody poked me in the eye getting off the train, opening up their umbrella. It hurt, but my eye didn’t fall out, I didn’t get in anybody’s face, I just kind of went, “Ow … Geez,” semi-loudly, to nobody in particular. I’m pretty sure the person who poked heard me softly cry out, but I’m pretty sure I heard that same person say something to me like, “You gotta watch out buddy. Lot a people in this city,” all passive-aggressively, everybody hurrying home, hands in their pockets, heads in their hoodies.

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