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  • Writer's pictureAs Told To Veronica R. Wells-Puoane

Excuse Me, Can You Move Your Ass Out Of My Face?

Photo by Freshh Connection on Unsplash

New Yorkers have a reputation for being mean. But generally, I find that people from New York are quite nice. They just have a lower tolerance for bullshit. Not to mention, they’re way of expressing themselves is a bit more crass than the average American. It’s a grimy city, with an insane disparity in wealth, access, education and housing.

It’s a breeding ground for hostility. Not to mention, in New York, you have to interact with more people than you would in other places. We move with thousands of people in the close quarters of the train and things can get a little tight when people behave outside of the established but unspoken rules.

Such an infraction happened when a mostly White Latina woman stood too closely to the metal rails that framed the seats on the train. Her back was turned to the seat and her behind was directly in the face of the 45-year-old Black woman who was seated there.

This woman, tall and thin with high cheek bones, entrancing eyes and clear dark brown skin, put in the mind of actress Yolonda Ross. But she was miles and lives away from a Hollywood actress.

Noticing that this woman’s behind was in her face, she, with as much politeness as she could muster, said, “Excuse me, can you move your ass out of my face?”

The woman compiled silently. But for whatever reason, her partner, the mostly White Latino, took issue with the request. And while his girlfriend or wife said nothing, I guess he felt he needed to defend her honor. He told the Yolonda Ross look-a-like, “There’s a way to do things and that wasn’t it.” He could have let it go there, having said his piece. But he did not. And the man argued for twenty full minutes on the train, at one point mentioning that he was rich--for whatever reason.

This woman was, as she described herself, with the shits. She told the whole car on the Utica bound 4 train that she had just been released from jail dealing with niggas like him and so she was never scared and down for whatever. She told him repeatedly, "This is what I Do."

After ten minutes, I decided to start recording for those who’ve ever wondered what it can be like taking the train to work on a Thursday morning in New York City.

Take a listen.

I cut this audio file for the sake of brevity. But it should be noted that as this woman exited the train she wished all of us a good day. See? Quite nice.

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