Last week a New York heat wave continued. I stayed in my apartment all of last weekend, and on Wednesday had the day off for the Fourth of July. I watched TV all day and went to bed wearing ear plugs. Kids and families blew off fireworks until around 4 am.
On Thursday morning I boarded a 1 train bound downtown. As I expected, it was empty. Everyone was still on holiday. There was a man pacing the train, yelling in monologue style to himself. He was angry at the world, his life situation. He was unemployed, recently released from prison, homeless. A woman switched cars and he lunged at her angrily. A man bumped him getting on another stop and he yelled at him.
"Look at me one more time and I'll kill you," he said, kicking in the air close to his face. A woman sitting down shook her head and he yelled at her, too. "Why do you look at me like that instead of trying to help me?"
"Because you have so much anger in you, you have to learn to control some of that anger to get where you want to be," she said.
"No one here wants to help me!"
"I want to help you," she said, "if you'll calm down."
"Get me a job!" he screamed.
"You are a smart man," she said. "I'm sure if you go out and look you'll find one. We're all going through something. We're all worried about our jobs and our lives. We're all trying to make money."
"How! How!" he screamed.
"You should help me find a job," she said. "I'm too old, that's what they tell me."
"I don't have skills!"
The argument escalated. He said that woman should hire men to do sexual favors (he actually said something worse than that but I'm feeling conservative today). I got out at 96 street to transfer, and a wave of people all went with me. On the other train, without him, everyone shook their heads. We all looked at each other as if we had escaped unscathed.
I've had a much easier life than he does, but a lot of the time I write because I need to have that emotional outpouring that he was having on the train. I felt bad for him. He has needs that fall on deaf ears, and makes appeals to faces that are interested in their cell phones.
Thursday Alistair returned to town. We ordered in dinner and he told me about his trip to Switzerland. We had a lovely Saturday wandering around and having a long brunch at a peaceful restaurant (Otway).
I have spent the last month resting and the month before that complaining about not resting. Things are picking up again.