Saturday, October 24, 2009
The other day I was riding on the A line heading toward 42nd St. As the train pulled away from Columbus Circle a thin man dressed in unwashed blue jeans and a black bomber jacket entered the car from the connecting door between subway cars. He held up batteries, four silvery ones a pack. In a monotone he belted, "Batteries for sale. Cheap. One dollar each. Batteries for sale. Buy your batteries here. Cheap. Batteries. For. Sale." Noses stayed pressed into papers, no one looked up. The man walked to the other end of the car. As it pulled into 42nd St., he yelled in a fact-crossed mimic of the subway conductor, "42nd St. Change for the B, D, F, shuttle to Grand Central. 42nd St. Last chance to change. Change. Here. For the B, D, F, shuttle to Grand Central." Then, as if bored with the usual routine, announced, "Change here folks. If you're not changing to the D or F you're in the doggone WRONG TRAIN. Change here for the F as in FARTING, D as in DOG trains." The door opened. Amid hidden chuckles he exited toward the farting dog trains. It takes a lot to get a New Yorker's attention.