Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Girl on the Train #2 (with guest appearance by Crack Lady)

Sitting across from me, a mediocre-looking white girl, about age 27. A black lady, a crackhead, got on the train and hung to the pole between us. She was a textbook crackhead, complete with sunken cheeks, hollowed-out eyes, and powdery lips.

Fidgeting and knitting her fingers over and over on the metal of the pole, the crackhead called out in a creaky voice, "Anyone please help me with some money so I can get some food for my baby." She rattled it off with the practice of someone who has said the exact same line thousands of times, though she still managed to slur the words together.

Again, exactly the same she called out: "Anyone please help me with some money so I can get some food for my baby."

Nobody reacted. The white girl glanced up and looked around at the rest of us, as if in despair and disdain. She dug into her purse and took out a bill and handed it to the crackhead. The lady muttered thank you and waddled on down the car. The white girl looked after her with an exaggerated look of "compassion." It was as if she was witnessing herself being "kind," and was also conscious that other people were witnessing her being "kind."

She sighed wistfully, then picked up her book again and frowned in exaggerated concentration. The book was Savage Inequalities, by Jonathan Kozol (who can be seen publicly trumpeting his own hunger-strike here).

I went back to my book.

The crackhead, presumably, went off to get high.

3 comments:

  1. Picking up crackheads on trains has always been my favorite past time haha!

    ReplyDelete