Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pissed Off At a Homeless Man

Culture & Society---

It was on a Monday, about two weeks ago.  I was riding the D train on my way to work.  Since it was the rush hour, the train was crowded.  I had gotten my usual spot against the side doors in the middle of the train and was listening to Massive Attack's "Paradise", the theme song from Luther - the British TV series starring Idris Elba (Yea. Same guy. Angela's crush.) 

Sitting diagonally across from me were three women and two men.  One of the men had his head covered over with the hood of his heavy coat.  He appeared heavy-set, about six feet tall, and had a thick growth of unkempt grey and black beard.  He looked like he was in his late fifties.

Suddenly, the bearded man erupted, violently shoving with both hands the other man sitting adjacent from him.  Obviously startled, the man looked askance at the bearded man and continued with that which was preoccupying his thoughts.  The bearded man folded his arm and continued to take his nap.

I hate violence of every sort, and by this time I was preparing myself for a possible repeat of the bearded man's action.  I was thinking to myself that if he put his hand on the other man again I was going to intervene.  I had no idea what the nature of that intervention would be, but I was definitely going to get involved.  I found myself becoming increasingly angry at the unprovoked and unnecessary violence I had just witnessed.

Nothing further occurred for the next four subway stop, but eventually it happened again.  Another man (unaware of that which had occurred previously) had taken the seat next to the bearded man.  The bearded man swung his elbow at the man sitting next to him, but instead of a muted response of fear he was met with verbal response that suggested that the attacked would not take his "crap".  The bearded man stood up.  I took out ear-buds and advanced toward him, saying to the other man that I had his back.  Smelling oppressively of urine and feces, the bearded man retreated to one of the side doors, eventually exiting the train once it pulled into the station.

[Photographic Art by Ric Couchman]