I had just left the ATCQ/Yeezus concert and hiked to the A train. My plan was to catch the F train at the next stop uptown and ride that all the way to the bus home. For some reason, the F was acting funky and only got me a little into Manhattan before I had enough and said "Screw it. I'll take my chances with the J."
I go to the J platform expecting to deal with more MTA late night shenanigans but surprisingly the train arrives pretty quickly. I get on and grab an empty seat by some young, Latino woman with a nose ring. I'm tired but amped from the activities I just left and figure that the ride home will be pretty much about me being alone in my thoughts with no interactions with others. This is generally how I like it but this lady beside me had other ideas.
"Where are you coming from?" she asked me. I could tell by the drawl of her voice that she had also had a few drinks in her system for the night.
"Brooklyn. The Kanye concert. It was cool," I replied.
"Really? That's cool. Where are you going now?" she asked.
"Home, to sleep," I answered. "Last stop."
"Well," she said, putting her hand on my arm. " Do you mind if I take a nap on your shoulder? I'm getting off at the Junction and I'm tired from dancing all night. I'm a stripper."
(At this point I was gonna let her sleep on my shoulder anyway because frak it, she wasn't gonna bug me by doing so and although, I want to think I'm noble like this fine fellow* I realize I'm shallow enough that I'll let an attractive woman use me as a pillow. Anyway...)
"Cool," I said.
"No, I really am," she said. At this point I look across the way at this older black lady, her friend and this woman who was closer in age to me. They all looked at me and smiled, particularly the latter woman.
My seat buddy digs into her bag and pulls out here shoes a bit so I could see the clear heels.
"See? I'm a stripper," she said again.
"Aight," I replied because really what else was I supposed to say?
So, she put her shoes back in her bag and closed it up. Then she wrapped her arm through my arm and proceeded to doze off on my shoulder. She woke up every couple of stops to remind me that she was getting off at the Junction and I just told her to go back to sleep, I'd make sure she got off at the right stop.
The entire time the three people across from us were just smiling and laughing at this entire scene.
At one point she got up and said something about how her mother was going to be pissed with her because although she was just eating dinner after her shift, her mother would probably think something else since she was getting home so late. Why she told me this, I had no clue but I just told her to be honest and she had nothing to worry about.
I actually enjoyed the comfort of her being there with her arm wrapped around mine. It was a very non-sexual moment with someone whose work was wrapped up intricately in the world of sex, or at least the fantasy of sex. It was just nice to have the human contact and with nothing implied or wanted or anything awkward in the moment. For that short train ride we were just two buddies enjoying the comfort of being at ease. And judging by the smiles of the folks around us, it was contagious.
There are a few moments when you realize how awesome NYC is. Sure the people here can be brusque and maybe even rude and the transit system and the weather can suck. But at the heart of all that rushing, fast-paced, tough people existence the people of this city can just be calm and cool and helpful. We can all vibe off our energy and enjoy the crazy life trip we are all partners in, at least for awhile.
I nudge my stripper friend awake at Chauncey street, the stop before the Junction. She smirks and says "Good. I'm almost home and awake, no thanks to you."
"Yeah, whatever, girl," I say back. "Just get home safe and rest."
"Will do," she replies as we roll into her stop. "Thanks for the shoulder. Night."
The train rolls on. The old lady and her friend (actually it was friends) ride with me to the last stop. The Latino woman about my age across for me has really enjoyed watching me interact with my dancing pal. When she finally gets to her stop, she smiles and says "You're nice. Have a good night."
"Take care," I say back, realizing that if I didn't sit next to that chick and she didn't ask for the use of my brawny man shoulders then we wouldn't have exchanged any words.
Strippers can be magical.
So can this damn city.
I liked you for a brief moment, humanity. Thanks.
|Please and thank you.|
* I actually DID think about this guy when she asked me so I guess I'm a little better than I think of myself at times.