Tales from Transit

In towns with real public transportation, people are used to interacting with the crazies on a daily basis. In Houston, not so much. Most of us keep our windows rolled up and the AC on. But I happen to live on the Main Street rail line, and today I took it to work.

The train was pretty crowded. I was standing up holding a rail, and there was a young man sitting across from me. The conversation started off innocuously enough.

“I like your shoes,” he said.

“Why, thank you,” I replied, and gave him a smile. Then things got weird.

“I don’t hate YOU,” he yelled. “YOU hate ME!”

I decided to quit making eye contact, and he proceeded to lecture me for the next couple of stops. I chewed my gum and stared out the window, glancing back at him from time to time.

Here and there, I could make out what he was saying, and boy was I glad. “We should teach the babies,” he said, nodding at me. “I’ll teach YOUR babies. I’ll fuck your babies in the ass!”

I looked around to see if anyone else was getting this. A man quickly bent down to study his newspaper.

At one point, my friend stood up, walked toward me and put his hand above my head to share the rail I was holding onto. He was breathing on me, and I could see he was gearing up for another lecture at the very least. “Downtown Transit Station” was announced. I stepped around him and got off the train. – Cathy Matusow


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