I saw a fight on the train coming home tonight. I'm not sure I have ever seen a real fight before. Once, in college, a "gang" (can it really be a gang when it's in Ohio? Is that not just a group of male friends who maybe probably just have a secret handshake and are now calling themselves a "gang?") fought outside one of my tiny Ohio school's nightclubs. Sidenote: a friend of mine stood atop a pile of snow and shouted "Peace, everyone! Peace!" A variation of that did happen tonight though when an older gentleman shouted, "You're crazy lady! Calm down!" But perhaps that's not the same message my friend was trying (drunkenly...) to send. I digress.
The train pulled into 42nd St. Times Square when this happened so of course, authorities stepped in to stop the fight because the really tall man standing between the crazy-lady-trying-to-fight and the-stupid lady-fueling-the-fire wasn't enough to calm either parties down. It doesn't even matter what the fight was about or who was right or how it ended. What was significant was how it brought a train full of strangers "together" in this bizarre, circumstantial, but significant way. Suddenly people couldn't get home to their kids and no one wants to end a night (a Monday night mind you) with screaming and shouting and violence (and hair pulling. how stereotypical).
So when the passengers were asked to exit the train and suddenly the whole car was abuzz with the excitement of what just happened, I was happy to see that people were laughing. That sounds wrong, as if they were laughing at those women (maybe they were?) but what I mean is that they were laughing instead of being angry or complaining or what have you. Because of one woman having a bad day and another not being able to be the bigger person, an entire train full of tired (it was 11pm. who has the energy to fight at 11pm on a Monday night?!) people were home that much later and for such a ridiculous reason. Strangers were recounting and asking questions and speculating and laughing. Myself included. The stranger I was talking to told me to "get home safe, okay?"
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, an act of violence brought strangers together. And there is some sort of beautiful, twisted irony there.
I hope it's clear that I in no way condone violence or people laughing at violence. I hope it's clear what I took away from this night and perhaps it is clear but I'm just that type of person who has to make sure before concluding a post like this.
In happier news, it snowed tonight! It was the first snowfall of Winter and i'm both thrilled for the impending beautiful blanket of snow to cover my beloved city and dreading the walks through it. Regardless, Winter is finally here New Yorkers! I bet Central Park is stunning in white.
Ps- A final unrelated note. A man turned into me very suddenly on the side of the street tonight. He looked really, really happy (like...eyes light up happy) with a sweet grin on his face and it was washed away instantly and replaced with embarrassment when he realized I was not his girlfriend, that he meant to turn to. This very brief exchange was...I don't have a word for it. I just have the thought that i'm very glad that this man I don't know is that in love and that happy to see someone in the world. It was reassuring.