Mar 14, 2018

Subway Diary: That Time I was Struck by a Man on the F Train

Riding the F*#) train one morning . . .
So, I was just sitting next to a mother and her son on a chock-full F train this morning. The mom and son were talking about the "fake poetry" posters that have been splayed about subway cars as of late - a marketing ploy by the Internet start-up PolicyGenius (they compare life insurance policies - *boring*). Noticing the rapport between the two of them, I laughed and acknowledged that I also found the ads a bit twee and said, "I know how you feel. Fake poetry. It hurts my heart." The kid wanted to get out of his seat and explore the other posters, but the mom pulled him back. At that moment, a man appeared in front of me, a white, middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair, a bit harried, and in sweats, said to me, "I have something for you. It's your turn next." And he struck me in the face. Unprovoked. I did not know the man nor did I expressly notice him in the car until that moment. The woman and the child immediately got up and huddled in the corner and, I said, "That man just hit me." The train pulled into the 63rd street station and, I got off - and so did the woman and the child - I heard someone say they were calling the police. We three went up to the upper level to escape. The woman asked if I was OK and I told her I was an English teacher on my way to work - and that I was worried I'd be late. I then texted Ms. S and wrote, "A man just hit me on the train unprovoked." After a few beats, the nice woman who had become my reluctant protector told me she was an English teacher, too. I started to cry. I think she was worried about her son about to witness a grown man have a nervous breakdown so, she gingerly asked, "Do you want a moment alone?" I said "Yes," and the woman smiled at me warmly. I felt comforted. As I watched her go, I wondered if she would look me up later and we would figure out why this random act of violence occurred. I figured it was safe so I went back down to the lower level and, the same F train was still lingering in the station. The conductor, the guy who sits in the middle car and announces the train stops, noticed me and said, "They apprehended that guy who hit you and, the police are looking for you." I did not want to deal with the fallout - and I was also relieved that the police had caught the guy, so I just got on the train. And I went to work. I felt shook all day - like a mild shock had invaded my system. Mr. V made tea. Doc consoled me and, Ms. S hung out with my first-period class. Mr. H told me his own story of subway assault and Mr. G. said I should try to get the violent men thrown behind bars. I am just relieved that the man did not have a knife or a sharp object. So. What's the moral of the story: stay alert but don't let one man's crazy act of violence ruin your life.