Saturday, February 16, 2019


A guy in shabby, dirty clothes lies across the bench in the subway, flat on his back with his eyes closed. He doesn’t smell that I can make out, as people in shabby clothes sleeping on subways sometimes do, but other riders seem to be avoiding that end of the car anyway, perhaps just on general principle (a man willing to violate the norms of the transit system so flagrantly (vagrantly?) might be capable of anything).

We pull into the station at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, which is distinguished both for its very fun-to-say name and by its unusual color scheme, in which the color brown predominates, and on the doors opening, the sleeping man stirs from his slumber, nimbly bounces to his feet and bops out the door, walking down the platform at an unhurried but determined pace.

So, of course, there are reasons, and Mr. Sleeps-on-the-Subway may have an active and rich personal and social life, but still I find myself asking: “Where, exactly, did that guy have to be?"

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