It seems like most everyone I know and see is either on edge, depressed, or downright cranky. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the beginning of Lent and people are adjusting to the lack of whatever they’ve given up, maybe it’s just me, like channeling like and all that.
For all the bad rap New York has had over the years, it’s a pretty civil town. I rarely see fights or arguments among the over 16 crowd–excluding drunken slurs.
Yesterday I saw three. One on my way to the subway, after dropping off Flower Child. One man was standing with his kiddo, yelling and cursing at a woman trying to catch a cab with her kiddo. Then, as I was getting on the train, another woman getting off the train was loudly berating a man standing by the doors for not getting out of the way quickly enough. Then in the afternoon, two men were all in each other’s faces. These weren’t young men or kids, these were two grown-ass men on a block filled with multi-million dollar brownstones, standing in front of a fancy juice bar getting up in arms about who pushed into who as they rushed down the street.
Is it something in the air?
I went about my day, yoga, grocery shopping, picked up a bottle of wine and cooked. Husband got home early, Fatigue came over for Friday Night Madness, and we had dinner. Afterwards, Fatigue and I went out for coffee, chatted about budgets, dreams, and blues, and then each went home to walk our respective beasts.
On my way back into the building with the dogs, I noticed a guy a little bit behind me, also seemed to be on his way in. I held the door, and then he lagged, so I let go. Sometimes people don’t like to be that close to the dogs, sometimes someone wants to finish a conversation on their cell before entering the building, sometimes they aren’t actually coming inside at all, just waiting to meet someone. Whatever.
Now I’m waiting for the elevator, the same guy walks over, maybe 8 feet away from me, and he’s talking. I assume he’s talking on the phone. I give a half nod, turn back to watching the elevator numbers decrease. Then I realize he’s (now? the whole time?) talking to me.
“Don’t pretend to hold the door, lady. If you don’t want to hold it, fine, but if you’re holding it, hold it, don’t pretend. I don’t need that shit.” His tone is completely conversational. And then he keeps rambling.
For the record, we’re talking about a very flimsy door, one of those little plastic and aluminum things that are put up in front of buildings and stores in NY in the winter to block some wind, try to save on heating costs. This is a healthy looking guy, certainly younger than me. I might even go so far as to think of him as a strapping young man. Ooookay. But I know not all disabilities are visible, who knows what story someone has?
At this point I’m not even annoyed, just mildly amused at finding myself in this bizarro moment. I’m not looking for a fight, I recognize his face as someone I run into every so often, not a big deal. I say something mildly neutral and conciliatory along the lines of, “hey, sorry, thought you were behind me.”
I expect this to end there. Nope. He keeps going, and is getting louder. Now it’s taking more to hold my beasts, because Big Senile Dog is still alert enough to get testy if he perceives a threat. My patience, and my sense of humor, are finished.
I’d like to tell you I was calm and mature to the end. When he started cursing me, I had enough. One clear “fuck you” from the frayed tips of my Brooklyn roots. Calm but not mature. Maybe this means the yoga is starting to have an effect.