Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Didn't Think Anyone Would Do Anything

The end of 45.

I turned 46 last Friday. Had a fine time. Took some pics to post here but haven't posted them because I wanted to say something to go with them. Today, though, I really want to tell you this other story...and include the photos of me at 45 (top) and newly 46 (bottom).

This morning I wasn't in a great frame of mind. I hadn't slept well and I had a lot of thoughts. So many thoughts. I got to the subway and remembered that I had to put more money on my card. When I approached the credit card only machine it was out of order. As I turned to the cash and card machine a man stepped to it and punched some things on the keypad. He'd been standing by the turnstiles a moment before and clearly made his move as I tried to use the downed machine. A second later he stepped away from that machine and there was a code on the screen about an audio transaction in process and not being able to use it. I knew he'd caused that.

And right on cue he asked if I wanted a swipe. (If you don't live here it's a transit thing, it's illegal to sell swipes on one metro card at a markup but it's a pretty common scheme. The thing where you fuck up the machines to force people to buy your sweep is something I've suspected but not seen so clearly until today.) I said no and scowled at the stuck machine for a bit until he approached another customer. Bless her heart he offered her a swipe and she replied, "That's so nice of you!" I didn't hear him run down the price points because I had figured out that I'd have to go aboveground again, cross a busy street, go down into the station on the opposite side, use those machines, and come back to get on the train going in my direction and I was pretty mad about it. Even though I was kind of glad to be mad. It was distracting from my other thoughts.

While I did that I dialed up the city agency for transit complaints. In my head I was thinking, "They won't give a shit!" but I dialed anyway because I had to tell someone. I had to do something that felt right. Before they picked up, though, I was in the station on the other side of Flatbush Avenue and I'd forgotten that side has a manned token booth! (No tokens, though.) Someone to tell!

So I told the attendant. She held up a finger but didn't look at me. She got a piece of paper and a pen. She was quiet a long time. I thought, "She does not give a shit." Right before I walked away she waved me closer and handed me that piece of paper with a phone number on it. She told me that was the number for the transit police in this district and I should call them. They knew about this guy. She went on to say she thought he was doing it like a career, which was stupid. Then she asked me was he dark skinned? About 5'11"? What was he wearing? I could vouch for the skin and the height and even that he was thin and had a hood up but that was it and I started to get all the usual guilt over that. What if they asked me to ID him? I couldn't because I hadn't really looked at his face because I was trying to avoid contact with him and because I didn't think anyone would care.

I didn't think anyone would care.

I wanted to call to make myself feel better but there didn't seem to be any point in gathering specific information because I was absolutely sure that no one would listen to me and do anything about the problem. I got surprised. In a really good way. I wish I'd been more help.

The beginning of 46.


  1. I know I was thinking of you on your birthday, but I can't remember if I said anything and now I feel like a real heal. I hope your day was fantastic. You're gorgeous!

  2. Miflohny2:46 PM

    You shouldn't feel bad about not being to give more info about how the person looked - eyewitness descriptions of strangers are highly unreliable, even when the person feels very sure of what the person looks like. Ya done good reporting it!

  3. Happy belated birthday! Welcome to 46 - come on in, the water's fine.