October. She’s Here. She’s Scary Already.


Oh, its our time. This month is the best month of the year.

I can’t help but feel like this city might be even greater in Halloween.

But she’s scary already.

We had an “almost nor-easter” move in on Friday. It was freezing and raining and the wind was blowing everyone’s umbrellas inside out. People were so deflated about it too, walking around in soaked clothes with these useless broken wilted-flower umbrellas in their hands.

I think New York was hazing the newbies, because this was Arkansas-December weather. On October the 3rd. Jane and I got off the bus after school and walked home. She huddled under the umbrella with me, clutching the hood of her raincoat with both hands and yelled up at me, “I. Do. Not. Like. This.”

Something tells me it’s going to be a long winter.

But other than weather shock, I’m feeling right at home in this city, where shops sell freeze dried rats and diorama of baby bat bones.

But last week I saw something I wish I could un-see. Perhaps the scariest thing my eyes have beheld. Ever.

We were coming home from church and standing down in the subway. I looked up the stairs to my right and thought, “Huh. There’s a man’s penis.”

But because my brain could not comprehend what it had seen, I literally turned back to talk with Fayez about our afternoon plans. And then it registered truly. Yep. I had indeed seen a penis.

So my head whipped back around on it’s own accord and there he was. A large, naked, floppity man tromping down the subway stairs as if it was the most normal thing in the world. I began to slap Fayez’s arm to look. He did some sort of ninja move where he inserted his body between Jane’s gaze and the completely nude fellow now descending directly beside us.

But the thing that made the biggest impression on me? It wasn’t the naked man. It was the reaction of the New Yorkers around us.

Usually, New Yorkers don’t react to anything. Ever. Want to rap publicly about your childbirth experience while displaying your placenta in a jar with bright pink food coloring? They’re not going to care. They’re going to pass you by without a second glance while talking on the phone with their mom about great-grandma Hilda’s Swedish meatball recipe.

But you put a totally nude man in a subway with over 100 people? That, THAT gets a reaction. People gawked. One lady may have dry heaved. They scuttered and scampered to get away from him.

The hero of the day was a very imposing MTA worker, a woman standing at least six feet tall, who approached him, held out a large black trash bag and yelled, “NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR NAKED ASS. COVER YOURSELF.”

The man looked at her for a moment,and then responded in a calm, logical, erudite voice completely at odds with his bulging, fleshy appearance and said, “I’m not bothering anyone. Look, they don’t mind.”

And then the MTA worker said a string of words that were of the profane persuasion, almost poetic in the way they flowed. Then she mentioned the police.

And then he put on the trash bag.

All this time, Jane was hopping around asking, “What? What is it?” Fayez managed to successfully block her entire line of sight. She knew she missed something. She wasn’t sure what. But she was unhappy about it all the same.

So with this new season, our new home has welcomed us. With creepy dried rat stores. With pumpkin stands. With frightening nudists who sound like  they should be doing voice-overs for a BBC period radio drama. October is here. She’s scary.

8 thoughts on “October. She’s Here. She’s Scary Already.

  1. We had the same weather here in Virginia… COLD! I even had a fur scarf wrapped around my neck when I stepped outdoors to take the pups out. No sightings of publicly naked men though… thank goodness!


  2. Hi Liz! I just love your posts and that little Jane is really growing up. What a little doll! Love hearing your stories too! I’ve been gone for almost a month and am trying to catch up. I’ve been scrolling down through your posts and have just attended your beautiful wedding! How lovely and again, I wish you the most happiness!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉


  3. Having lived and worked in San Francisco for a number of years, I am not ignorant of the naked man on public transit phenomena. Generally I’m a live and let live kind of gal, but the thing that skeeves me out the most about that is the cleanliness factor. The germs. The potential for all sorts of bacteria. No matter how you slice it, nudity on transit is a bad idea.


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