I’ve been in ol’ New York for almost six years now, so I can be forgiven for assuming that I’ve seen almost everything she has to offer at least once. This week, however, I learned that this wasn’t true. I saw two things I’ve never seen before, and I choose to believe that this is a message from the city, reminding me that there are new things under the sun, and even on my own block.
For example, this evening, I saw a man hail a bus, as if it were a cab. And then? The bus pull over, despite the fact that there was no bus stop anywhere on the block. I was headed back from the gym at the time, standing at a light about a block from my house, and when I saw this guy pull the bus over, I froze on the spot and gawped with my mouth open, like a tourist witnessing a mugging.
But that’s nothing compared to what I saw this weekend. Saturday, Himself and I decided to go to Target, a suitable married person suburban activity. (Which, in the city, means that one must walk three-quarters of a mile to a subway station to wait twenty minutes for a train.)
Sgt. Lucky and I were sitting in the station, patiently waiting for the train, when a man sat down at the end of our bench, and pulled something out of his jacket, lit it on fire and put it to his lips.
Smoking anything at all is verboten in the subway, but this guy looked … kinda homeless. He had an old, dirty trench coat on and a dazed expression on his face, and those Velcro sneakers that only homeless people seem to have access to anymore. (Is there a special store? Either that, or Velcro sneakers are what the cockroaches will be wearing when they take over after the Apocalypse.)
At first, of course, I assumed that he was smoking a cigarette, but then I realized it was glass. A one hitter? I thought, going back to my college days. And then a wave of chemical stink wafted over me and I realized that he was smoking crack – was blowing it, in fact, in my face. Crack in my face!
“We need to move,” I whispered to Adam.
“What is that?” he asked, as we shuffled nonchalantly down the platform.
“I think it’s crack!”
“Wow. I’ve never seen crack before!”
“Like I have? Oh, don’t look at me like that.” It’s a great joke between us that, as the partner who did not join the Marine Corps at 18, I am a dissipated person who might have been up to almost anything before we got together.
“I sort of want to make a citizen’s arrest. I wonder if we should go upstairs and see if there are any cops around.”
This being Park Slope, there were cops around. They appeared maybe three minutes later, looking more pissed off than I have ever seen cops look. But by then, Cracky had pulled a disappearing act – had, so to speak, gone up in smoke.
What an exciting spring I’m having so far! Who wants to go hail a bus?