This morning so far:
Upon boarding the 4 Train at Nevins Street, I find myself on a car with a subway preacher. But not just any subway preacher. Not the angry old lady shouting at the top of her lungs with righteous fury. I HATE that woman. I don’t go shouting at you first thing in the morning that you’re going to die and then never feel anything, not even regret, so you better make the most of your life while you have it. So don’t go shouting at me that I’m going to burn in hell. When she’s on the train, I will switch cars or dig out my headphones and listen to music — something like Jessie J, because I have it on good authority that subway preachers HATE Jessie J.
No, this guy was dressed for work. In construction. Hard hat and everything.
He was Jamaican. And when I walked onto the train, he was in the middle of a story about a guy going up before the judge for some crime. And the judge wants to throw the book at the criminal, but the judge has a relationship with the defense attorney, who puts in a good word and — well, I wasn’t clear if the guy got off or just had his sentence reduced. But either way, when you die, it apparently really pays to have Jesus as your defense attorney, especially when his Old Man is the judge.
The Jamaican construction worker shifted right into another story and another. I tuned him out for a bit, but he was loud enough and he didn’t seem angry. I looked at him once just to see what he looked like. (For those of you who don’t live in New York, looking at the people begging or preaching on the train is just something you don’t do. You don’t need the guilt. You definitely don’t need the chance of eye contact and them zeroing on you.) He looked like he was enjoying himself. Every once in a while he said something interesting, like the time he was working on a job, on the ninth floor, and he told the guys working the tenth not to walk out on the ledge and then an hour later, all the guys on the tenth floor went running down stairs and one of them says to him, “Preacher!” (Apparently, he has a very fitting nickname at work.) …
And you’re never going to guess where this one’s going: They were giving away free ice cream cones downstairs! Nah, just joking. One of those idiots who hadn’t listened to Preacher had fallen to his death.
Because you should always listen to Preacher. Or you’ll fall to your death — and quite possibly on a day when Jesus is out playing golf instead of in his law office. The last defense attorney you want to get stuck with in heaven is Thomas.
In Starbucks at the sugar-and-milk station — hey, that’s what I call it — and I hear something weird. Like two bits of ivory clacking together inside of a sock or something. (No, I’ve never heard that before, but that’s what it sounded like.) So I sneak a peek to the guy standing next to me. Well-dressed guy, obviously going to work — suit, tie, brief-case, bag of McDonald’s breakfast. And he’s making a chewing motion with his mouth. And that’s what’s making the noise. Some sort of condition or nervous tic. It sounds painful. It also sounds like maybe he’d done it so long they’d replaced his teeth with ivory or something similar.
And I can’t help but wonder: Man, this guy’s gnashing his teeth. Did I not listen to Preacher and end up in hell? Hey, what the shit? I didn’t get a trial, much less a defense attorney!
Nah. Just joking. I thought: Thank God I don’t sit next to that dude at work all day. Because I’m a horrible person.
There’s a conversational Japanese group that meets in this Starbucks (Third Ave, between 43rd and 44th if that’s one of your fetishes — or if you’re interested in learning a language).
One of the American girls, when asking about certain words, started pronouncing the English words with a Japanese accent. Either she’s missing the entire point of the class or she’s going to be one of those annoying people who comes back from three months in Japan and claims she can’t get rid of the accent and won’t shut up — EVER — about Green Tea-flavored Kit Kats, which are NASTY no matter what anyone else says. (That’s why Japanese people are so skinny, because green tea is gross — gross enough to be an appetite suppressant. It makes your mouth so angry at you, it won’t open for you for an hour after drinking green tea. In fact, your first day of Sumo camp, they make you stop drinking green tea and you gain ten pounds on the very first day. This is science, people.)
That’s probably enough excitement for one day.
*Buy my new book. In print or online. Or wait for the audio version. That might actually be happening for this one.
*There’s a 99.9% chance I’ll be reading at the Barnes & Noble (Citiplace) in Baton Rouge on Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. Be there or I will haunt your ass when I die.
*When you’re done dumping ice water over your head, consider donating to my fundraiser to fight leukemia and lymphoma.