19. Tracked Intentions


Last night was amateur night. What most call New Year’s Eve. That special time of year when anybody and everybody thinks they’re big drinkers. Gimme a break. I do this shit everyday. It’s the one night a year I make sure to get home early. I just can’t tolerate the annoyance of it all.

On the day that follows, I’m sitting at the back of the train with a package to deliver at the holiday rate. From the looks of it could be some kind of fitness package. Workout dvds and meal plans. Someone wanting to get a jump on their resolutions. With a willingness to pay top dollar. I never make resolutions. If you want to do something, you can do it any time of year. And I have no plan to drink less if that’s what you’re thinking.

My brief and likely futile consideration of goal planning is interrupted by an argument. An old lady reading a newspaper starts yelling at the middle-aged man sitting next to her. They’re up in front of me, and across the aisle. At first I figure they must know each other.

 “Don’t touch me,” she screams at him. This could be a fight that’s continuing from the previous night. He did something she deemed inappropriate, and hasn’t forgiven him.

I watch so intently it starts to feel as if they can’t see me. The disguise of anonymity in the collective public. The old lady returns to reading her newspaper, fully spread with both hands. It’s not long before she’s yelling at him again. He tries to ignore her by making eyes at a girl too young for him across the aisle. He even gets up, leaning across the aisle. Not tapping her on the shoulder, but touching the seat next to her. Trying to get her attention. That passenger knows better, and maintains her ignorance of the situation. Along with the rest of the silent majority.

Of course his sitting back down next to the old lady bumps her paper. Restarting the confrontation. It becomes clearer that they don’t know each other. Just a weirdo and a kook who happened to cross paths. The volume increases. She now adds a “fucking” to the don’t touch me request.

 “I ain’t touching you,” he claims.

 “You’re probably one of those who voted for this president,” she says. “Aren’t ya?” Finally she gets up to move. Something she should’ve done in the first place. “You certifiable piece of shit.”

 “Whatever you crazy old bat!” is his ratcheted up response. Finally they separate. She continues muttering grievances while shuffling to the other end of the train car.

I continue watching them both, but I’m now studying him closer. Did he vote for this current president? Does it make him one of those people? Seems that’s about the worst thing you could accuse someone of these days. Even if it happens to be true. Most wouldn’t admit to that. Most didn’t. Some couldn’t help it after the election. Just wanting to be on the winning side, and wanting others to be aware of it. Forgetting in that instance that it’s not a good look. Or perhaps just testing the waters. Praying that the validation of victory trumps the denial of integrity. Before becoming mute on the subject again.

I’m now busy in a deep examination. Who is this guy? Political affiliations or not, what is going on in his head? I didn’t see him touch the crazy old bat. Although they were in close enough proximity to each other. The way he continues to carry himself makes her side of the story all the more believable. I’m wondering what, if anything I should do?

Why would I get involved though? It has nothing to do with me so far. I should mind my own business like I always do. Don’t cause unnecessary trouble for myself. Let the trouble find this jerk at the appropriate time. Until then leave it alone, if I can. If he were to accost a passenger, then I might be compelled to step in. But then why wait for something like that to happen?

I decide to keep a sharp eye on him until my stop. Shit! I’ve missed my stop. I was so entrenched in some kind of personal redemption fantasy, I forgot where I was on the track. I have to get off at the next station. I move past the strange, creepy guy, watching him very closely. Making sure I can exit safely without him making a move. But I stay ready for just that.

Backtracking three stops, my delivery is a little late. I blame it on the holiday. The client doesn’t seem to care. In fact, they’re more pleasantly surprised than anything. Most likely dealing with a hangover, and forgetting about this request, made last year. I relate to that. I can then resolve to celebrate with my first drink of the new year.