I’m on the car with the bathroom. Smooth move, girlie. Nobody is really using it though. Thank God. One summer day there was some traveling stench that funked up like, four separate cars. I usually get irritated on the train when people are loud in my area. Probably because I take train time to relax and reflect. There’s a young black woman up front complaining to her friends about some company. She sounds ignorant to me. I roll my eyes. Some men speaking Spanish got on the train at the last stop. Two sat behind me and one in the three seat row I’m in. He’s an older guy – probably a construction worker judging by the clothes he has on. He talks incessantly in really loud Spanish. Great. Complaining about the job apparently. I catch a word here and there but mostly, I am annoyed. I just want quiet. Boy am I miserable. Shaaaaaaaaadup already. Su boca.. shut it. There is no one remotely interesting on the train tonight. Oh finally. We’re at Grand Central. It’s raining. I’ll take the shuttle.

Went to see Analyze That. I liked it. I think the first one was funnier. I’m a Deniro fan although I now realize that I haven’t seen half his films. Mainly the earlier ones, which are probably the best. My show was in theater 20. I must have gone up ten escalators. It got a little scary. I could have gotten a nosebleed. I saw two guys who looked like they stepped straight out of the Sopranos though I think they only wanted people to think they were mafia. The three kernels of popcorn I ordered came to $34 and the bottled water I bought to wash them down was $22.50. I ate all the popcorn during the previews. I’m not such a cheap date after all.

I take a minute to collect myself before stepping out into the night. I feel discombobulated. Where are my gloves? Oh. In my pocket. My hat? Didn’t bring one. My scarf is barely hanging on, about to be lost forever. Luckily it didn’t get caught in the escalator and drag me to my death. My purse is open. My coat is not zipped right. How the hell did I do that? Damn. Get it together girl. I have a small umbrella my sister gave me but it’s only meant to be neatly tucked in your bag or tote. It’s not the type of umbrella that can withstand gusty wind and sideways rain that comes whipping around skyscrapers. It turns out it’s like a paper plate and it breaks. But I step out anyway. By the time I realize I’ve passed the shuttle entrance, I’m halfway to Grand Central. People are weaving like they are drunk. Maybe they are but I think it’s mainly because they don’t want to crash umbrellas. There are some students who look like a Benetton ad, with no umbrellas. They smell like Pantene.

Water, water, everywhere… puddles, the hissing spray of passing cabs, cars and buses. I walk quickly but one side of my umbrella caves in completely and I’m forced to slow. I try to right it and the whole thing tries to turn inside out. I shake it and hold it close to my head. I’m not really worried about my hair getting wet – it’s flat twisted so it won’t get big. I just don’t want to get soaked and chilled. Finally, about four blocks from Grand Central, I give up. I can’t continue fighting with the umbrella. When I throw it away at the next trashcan, I see a lot of people without umbrellas. The cold mist feels nice on my face. Refreshing. So I walk on… stopping on a corner.. waiting to cross… my right eye nearly gouged out when a man with a patio umbrella hops back onto the sidewalk. He turns around and smiles at me. He apologizes and feels compelled to explain; the speeding car that just passed was a little too close. Who says New Yorkers are evil? (Must be a tourist.) I’m not mad. But his umbrella is so big he could shield everybody in Times Square. We cross the street.

I’m hungry. I cross the street again so I can hit McDonald’s. I would love to have a shake but I’ve no Lactaid and I can’t deal with the cramps and personal stinkiness of a lactose intolerant digestive system. They have a limited menu so I get a cheeseburger and some fries and a small drink. Just a little something for the ride home to generate some energy to climb the hill I live on. I had some time to kill before my train and as I’m lingering near the station, this guy tells his friend how to get to Brooklyn. The friend looks confused. The one fussing looks white but his friend is Latino. He don’t look right. Actually, he may have some mental challenges or something. They walk closer to me and he stares at me. His eyes look very bright but empty but he grins at me and winks. I can’t help but smile. He tells his friend he doesn’t know if he can do it so I tell him he’ll be fine. He keeps grinning at me and then the white guy goes, “He acts like I’m the f–in white devil.” WHOA. What? I mutter, “Ohhhkay…”. Then the Latino one, still smiling, lightly touches my shoulder and tells me he’s the DC Sniper. They move on. I am overjoyed.

Oooh the train is on the track and not very crowded yet. I get on one of the last cars so I will be close to the exit when we get to WP. I sit near the window – as I often do. I big guy – can’t figure out his nationality, maybe Italian… plops his leather bag on the rack above me and water drops on my nose. Thanks Buddy. I don’t pay him much attention but sneak a few looks here and there. People file to the other cars on the platform. I always feel like a fish in a bowl. It’s just the way they look at you, I guess. They all look kind of weary. The car is relatively quiet, thankfully. Except the Italian guy in my row starts blowing his nose. Honking and sniffling. He blows so hard I think he is going to break a blood vessel and bleed all over me. He continues to sniffle throughout the ride. He must have sinus problems. I bet he snores. His arms sure are hairy but he has decent looking hands. The conductor is a no-nonsense guy of Caribbean descent. He charges everybody extra who didn’t buy a ticket beforehand – no warnings like some of them do. The cheeseburger is kind of smashed. They always are. It’s only a wisp of a hamburger anyway. You call that meat? The fries are okay but I only eat half. I relax the rest of the way. Close my eyes and think about… nothing… then sex.. then business… Boy his arms are hairy. And he’s got a growth on his nose. Hmmm. Motorola flip in his waistband. I decide he works in IT. He has the “sharp, useless look” of an IT guy. He gets off at Bronxville. I wait for my stop. I get off. It has stopped raining. I walk home, carefully avoiding the black 5-inch slugs on the sidewalk. I hate slugs. Can they get on you suck your blood like leeches? Who knows. I return to boredom.