Simple Meaning


Territorial Begging on the subway

Last night, I witnessed quite a funny scene on the subway. A woman, probably in her late 40s, fitting the typical beggar profile walked into our car and told a sad, languishing story about her unemployment check not arriving on time. (That's not the funny part, of course.) I listened sharply, and tried to separate the lies from the truth, but my eyes were more perceptive to the truth than my ears. Her arms were scarred with track marks.

Finally, she went to the next car and a man sitting next to me shook his head in disapproval as another beggar entered. She looked even more disshoveled and told her story, evoking absolutely no emotions from me. I turned away from her disinterested. Before she could finish her rounds, holding her cup up to people's noses, yet another beggar entered the car and chaos errupted.

He was an older man, late 40s as well, and he exclaimed, "Aww shit!" when he saw the woman in the car. She in turn walked up to him and asked what he was doing in the car, "This is my route!" she yelled. "Don't 'effing' yell at me", he said. I turned to her awaiting a response. She was quiet for a few seconds and then motioned to strike him. He moved back and they were yelling back and forth for about two minutes. I was afraid it would escalate into something more serious and violent, yet at the same time I couldn't stop giggling about how ironic and ridiculous the whole situation was. Eventually, she drove him out of the car, and he left the train at the next stop.


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