When I first moved to New York City I was living off the 1 train in the Bonx. Not that this has any relevance to the story. It was a trek up to the Bronx but I didn’t mind because the 1 train was absolutely fantastic for people watching. I still occasionally ride the 1 train to entertain myself. Hey tourists, riding the train is an experience don’t fear it.
On one particular night around Halloween time I was heading home from work. I didn’t get out of work until midnight, so the train had some interesting characters at that time. Especially around Halloween. Wow! As expected the train was crowded with tomfoolery and people in some pretty interesting costumes and makeup. I took my seat and prepared myself to take in all kinds of interesting and fun stuff. I love fun.
As I was sitting in my seat with my cheesey grin and head going back and forth taking in all the fun folks. I couldn’t help but notice a black woman sitting across from me, staring me down. I immediately didn’t think nothing of it. It’s New York and people stare quite often. This wasn’t new. I kept up with fun folks around the train and silently critiquing peoples costumes, how they came up with such ideas or who did their make up. When all of a sudden, I hear the black woman.
“Hey Papi, Hey Papi..” she’s saying to the man next to me.
I slowly turned my head and there was a Mexican gentleman sitting next to me. He never answered her, yet she kept it up.
“Hey Papi, Hey Papi…” she got louder. “You want some Halloween accessories? They’re six dollars…” Turning to me with eyes wide and smirk of disgust on her face..”They’re nine dollars for the white people”.
I probably shouldn’t have but honestly I thought she was joking so I started laughing. Oh, this pissed her off. When she gave me the look of death, then I knew she was serious. I turned towards the Mexican guy and he is sitting there. Completely expressionless. Completely void of what just happened. Pretty sure all this guy cared about was soccer, beer and his family. In that order. You could tell this guy wanted no interaction with her or anyone and just wanted to get home peacefully.
I’m not sure about the Mexican guy but I was extremely offended. How could he not be? Did she lower the price because she thought he couldn’t afford a $9 Halloween accessory? Did she assume that because he is Mexican he can’t afford $9? He was dressed better than I was. Did she raise the price because she saw that I obviously don’t spend money on my wardrobe that I have the $9 for Halloween accessories? Did she assume because I’m white I have money? Which one of us should be offended? I was a bit confused and though curious, too scared to ask.
Mexican dude next to me still had same blank, just ignore her reaction. The rest of the folks on the train acting like it was just another day on the train. All the while, angry black woman is just glaring at me. This made the rest of the train ride home a bit awkward and intimidating.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re ever in New York, grab a sandwich and ride the 1 train. Good times!!
“If your hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world”