Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rocket ship

This morning I was standing on the train considering the fact that I was facing opposite the exact same girl from yesterday morning's commute. I could tell it was her because she carried the same black plastic purse with spacey pink flowers spiraling towards you -- I had been listening to Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" and was considering how this song could send you into a real psychedelic trance with the art on that purse, and how I was surprised that the subway provided me with this bizarre visual nugget that coincided so aptly with my song of choice. I was thinking about this, and wondering if the girl had any clue that she had seen me yesterday in the exact same circumstances, when a crazy person got on the train.

You get used to crazy people in New York; you learn to ignore them, for your dignity and their own. This person was short and stout, in casual clothes, with a majestic, jet-black pompadour that flowed into a mullet trailing down most of his back. He carried a red folder high over his mouth, like he was in a choir. He started talking.

"I am an angel," he said. "I am an angel Don't look at me my eyes are sensitive I am an angel."

I turned off my ipod so I could hear him better. He started talking about how he was in the ministry, and how he was friends with God and God had sent him rocket ships for all the unbelievers, and they would be shot into space. Also in attendance on these spacebound rocket ships: demons, disbelievers in his ministry and followers of Sodom and Gomorrah. All the while he was clutching this folder in front of his face and telling people not to look at him, as he turned and addressed everyone.

"For those of you who have just come on board, I am an angel," he would helpfully announce when new people got on. I actually couldn't help but laugh at the good-natured crazy of it all, and I made eye contact with one guy who was smiling too. Most people ignored him with the Manhattan expression of studied indifference. By the time we got to Columbus Circle he had been drowned out by the crowd and he couldn't command the same kind of audience.

It was nice to have a laugh on the subway today, to break my morning stupor. I wonder if he finally got off the train thinking he had finished his day's work, or if he's still riding around telling people not to look at him. Either way, no sign of any rocket ships today.

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