Friday, March 03, 2006

Even more Tales from the EL

There is a madman on the train.

The man is tall and clothed entirely in the peculiar yellow color I associate with Carhartt jackets and Timberland boots. His rich accent and etched facial features are those I associate with East Africa or certain islands of the West Indies. His voice is louder than anyone's gets on the train except for tourists and madmen, and he is clearly not visiting.

"...In 1917. 1917. 1917. How can you not see, it has been going on since 1917. Every day it gets worse. EVERY DAY. Pan Am. Libya. The PLO, Amelia Earhardt. 1917, they killed Archduke Ferdinand in the street. IN THE STREET. A whole war. Planes falling from the sky. Nobody does anything," he argues vehemently, waving his arms, imploring. He is talking to the air, to the bones of the train itself.

Everyone riding in the car pretends nothing is happening, closed inside themselves, because that's the way sane people ride the train, when they'd rather not deal with shouting madmen on the way home from work, and think that if they can pretend nothing is happening then nothing will happen. I am one of these people. We are arguably crazier than the madman.

The man in yellow says, "they go on killing people. Nobody does anything. I am a Catholic and I am proud. I make $40 an hour, and I [something] the pipes FORTY STORIES UP. George Bush is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD. THE WORST!"

At this point, I'm starting to think maybe he's not crazy, just a Democrat. Unfortunately, my stop comes up before I can hear any more, but I watch the train pull from the station, the man in yellow waving his arms and shouting, the other passengers pretending not to cringe. I almost feel sorry for him because no one is going to try to stop him; his paranoia will go unfounded, making him both true completely mad at the same time. Oppression would at least mean that he's sane.

The next day, I saw a man wearing a bowler hat. So, it's true, there's something different every day.

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