It Hardly Matters

Monday, March 13, 2006

Just A Spell

Whether you live here and commute every day, or have visited your crazy sister in Brooklyn for a weekend, I'm sure you've seen some strange shit somewhere along the 660 miles of New York City's subway system. Hell, if you've ever seen Seinfeld you know what I'm talking about. Examples: 10-year-old breakdancers freestyling during rush hour, rainbow-paletted ads for Dr. Z's skin peels, a guy on a makeshift burro in full-on vaquero gear singing "La Cucaracha" at top volume, fistfights. These everyday occurrences may elicit delight and/or terror in the average straphanger, depending on whether or not said straphanger is seated or is forced to actually grip some type of strap.

I thought I had seen it all. Well, if not it all, than most of it. Not the case. This morning, on the uptown Q train, the following note was Scotch-taped to one of the doors:



(718) [phone number omitted]

Brown skin, light skin and yellow
skin females are the most promiscuous

This 4 x 6 missive was posted at eye-level, if you happen to be about 5' 5''. Although the handwriting (all caps, black ink) was a bit crude, the paper itself was cut straight along each edge, revealing premeditation. And promiscuous was spelled correctly each time, which made the whole thing even more intensely bizarre. Was this a painfully shy Internet connection-less single looking for love in the big city? A bizarre social experiment? A cruel joke? Performance art?

In each case, a visual of the other end of the 718 phone number materializes: the 50-year old living with his mother in Queens, sitting by the wall-mounted rotary phone. Eggshell white. Shag carpeting. A group of long-haired Ph.D. candidates amalgamating then analyzing responses to the note based on Caller Anger Level. PowerPoint CAL index charts. The 15-year-old kids, jeans low, Starter caps bright, cackling every time their buddy's phone rings. The frustrated actress/artist with a shaved head and a bag full of mildly offensive notes that she surreptitiously tapes to train car doors and scaffolding. Stirring the melting pot.

Whatever the scenario, I think the note-writer's/poster's main purpose was achieved. Because as with all signs, notes, missives, advertisements, instructions, and villanelles, their point is to be read.


  • Hi Mega! I'm a friend of Askur and Embla's...the other day I was on the train and a well-dressed guy in his twenties came through the connecting door and, with a practiced, economical movement, posted small slips of paper in the corners of all the ads in the car. After a few minutes, I realized they were not ads to WORK FROM HOME, but quick pick lottery ticket slips, each with some numbers filled in. I was imagining that these slips, left by this crazy guy, would then be interpreted by a schizophrenic stranger as a coded message just for him...your post reminded me of this story. New York is definitely the place to get your message read!

    By Blogger Kagome, at 11:55 PM  

  • kagome - thanks for reading! Your scenario with the coded messages sounds like an episode of CSI, therefore, totally plausible.


    By Blogger mega74, at 2:42 PM  

  • 4 in the morning...a little bourbon blurred and listening to humble pie's smokin' in the E train car with the least amount of bums in it...i'm lucky, only 14 street urchins cruising with me tonight but even luckier because all i can smell is my own 90 proof breath...two young punks roll through and start tagging up the whole carwith the worst art youve ever, never any cops around when you need them...then, two of the 14 get up and bust out badges and take the kids away...that's some good bourbon.

    By Anonymous jay nebraska, at 9:44 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home