(A Random Post)

So I’m coming home from class yesterday, planning to get some desperately needed nappy time on the subway. I’m walking to the platform, and out of the corner of my eye, I see a familiar looking, almost-middle-aged Chinese guy. I immediately change direction and go into full stealth mode, because I don’t want any unnecessary social interaction with my friends, much less random Chinese people I don’t completely recognize.

But it’s too late. “HEY!” He steps into my line of sight, and he’s caught me. My brain is half mush after that three hour night lecture, completely unresponsive, and has the cognitive abilities of a rotten orange, but I still gotta find a way to weasel out of this. First things first – who the hell is this guy? What is the nature of my relationship with this guy? What can I use to get out? Does he owe me money? Do I owe him money? Is he pregnant with my illegitimate child? Did I call him “the captain of the good ship USS Fagboat” on an internet forum?

So I smile, give him an upward head nod, and throw him the standard line while I prepare to race through my brain for evidence of his identity. “Hey man, how’s it going? What you up to these days?” That usually buys me a couple of extra seconds for ye olde brain to search for his file, and his answer to what he’s up to these days (School? Work? Family? Mentions of our mutual interest or friend?) will give me crucial clues to lead me to his identity.

“Good!” Dammit! He answered the first question and not the second. I didn’t factor in the possibility that his English would be so bad. I got nothing. My mind is racing, frantically throwing up loose papers from my messy desk of a brain. Where have I seen this guy before? Why is he greeting me? Dammit, I know I put these papers here somewhere. He asks me what I’m doing out so late, and I cheerfully tell him I got a late class. Then in a relative flash of brilliance, I decide to ask him what he’s doing out so late. He says something I don’t understand in completely broken English, and I smile and nod like I understand.

We’re making inane small talk about the subway a hundred and twenty seconds later when I finally make the connection. My mind prints out his file to me like the old school Adam West Batcomputer, making noise like a dot matrix printer. It makes me even more confused than before.

It’s Jonas Zhang. (Zhong? Zhamanov…?) Worked five cubicles from me at the company I was at during the summer. I helped him generate an error report once, and we’ve been at a couple of the same lunch meetings since we were technically on the same development team. That’s the extent of our relationship.

I don’t know why we’re talking. Over the course of my life, I’ve exchanged like twenty words with him, maximum. Maybe he’s just friendly. But I immediately reject that possibility and instead conclude that he is a pervert – a sexual deviant. I’m on Code Orange. At this point I’m replaying video footage of my summer job in my head, trying to remember if he ever caught me stealing notepads for summer school or if there’s some other dark secret we share. This whole experience is making me very uncomfortable.

He interrupts my summer flick by asking me where I’m going or something, and with my mental capacity completely shot by that night lecture, I mumble out “Uh…Finch. I live in Richmond Hill…so I…uh…bus…stuff.” Fuck. I don’t know why I said that. Now I can’t use the “Ulp! This is my stop!” line and jump out at Rosedale and wait for the next train. Now I’m stuck with him the whole way.

I have one last chance out. My only hope is that we get separated by the crowd as the train boards and shucks, too bad, can’t sit with my old buddy Jonas. I pray for the subway to arrive as soon as possible. We haven’t said something to each other for roughly twenty seconds, and it’s got to the point where if we don’t say something now, it’s assumed the rest of the time following will be completely awkward silence because it’ll be too difficult to say something or start a new conversation after so much silent time has passed. Thankfully it is at this point where I can see the subway turning the corner and coming towards the platform, so I say “Ulp, there’s the train! Yee-up. Mmm hmm. There’s the good old train. Here it comes.” My last chance. The moment is upon us.

I stand perfectly still and let the crowd fill in between us as everyone lines up against the sides of the door, waiting to get in. I see Jonas slip in first, even before people have finished getting off the train. I hang at the back of the crowd, letting people in before me. I’m aiming to be the last guy in and having as many people as possible between us, making it impractical for me to walk over to him and share the lovely half hour subway ride up to Finch. So far it’s working pretty well. I get into the subway train, the doors close behind me, and I can’t see Jonas.

I’m out!

Then there’s a slight part in the crowd and Jonas is in my direct line of sight, staring right back at me. I almost scream out loud. He shouts out “HEY!” and starts motioning me towards him. I start looking around, bobbing my head, trying to make it look like there’s too many people for me to get past, but then the crowd parts some more, and I can see he’s holding a seat for me. This woman is right there, wanting to sit down in the empty seat next to him, but he’s got half of his ass hovering over it while waving frantically at me, and he’s got the seat blocked off with his personal space bubble. The woman looks over, sees me, and gives me an incredulous stare, like “Are you with this guy? What the hell? Why can’t I sit here?” I try pleasantly waving him off, but he only shouts at me louder and motions more frantically. The entire subway’s looking at us, and I’m stuck again. I have no choice.

I’m back in.

So I’m sitting there in awkward silence, actively minding my legs, deathly afraid I’ll slip and initiate knee-to-knee physical contact with him. I’m tired as hell, but I can’t sleep because I’m in a middle seat and I have nothing to lean my head against. And what if I drool or I tip onto him while dozing off? Unacceptable. Five minutes in, and it’s already been a worse subway ride than that one time I got pinned in by that crazy guy who would randomly shout nonsense at everyone on the train. It’s five minutes in, and he turns to look at me and says “WILLIAM! THAT’S your name! Hahaha I couldn’t remember it until now.”

You motherFUCKER!!! I passed you a fuckin’ Nestea during that one lunch meeting! I made that error report for you! And you couldn’t even remember my fucking name!?! And meanwhile I spent a terrifying two minutes killing my brain trying remember if I you were going to break my thumbs or something? Dude, what the hell!?!

We spend the rest of the half hour in complete silence, with me trying not to fall asleep even though I really want to. Finally we pull into Finch, and it’s time for another “Ulp, here we are! Yee-up. Mmm hmm. Good old Finch. Here we are.” While we go up the escalator, I’m trying to decide on the proper move to compliment the “Okay, nice seeing you again!” I’m going to give him. Handshake? Quickly pat him on the side of the arm? With an open hand or a sideways fist? Maybe just a wave and another upward head nod? A formal French kiss? And before I can decide, I realize that we’ve reached the top and he’s just walked past me and gave me the upward head nod. Crisis averted!

So with that bizarre encounter over with, it’s time to go home uneventfully right? No, never, not for Yak. Because at the top of the escalator, ten paces forward, there’s a white guy in a leather jacket, passed out on the floor. Or dead, I don’t know. But the sight is so odd and my brain is so overworked by that last encounter that I don’t know what to do, and I just keep walking while staring at him while I go through the rotating exit. And I immediately regret it. Because I want to make sure if he’s at least alive, and now I’m stuck outside. The standard reaction would be to completely ignore him and assume that someone else would take care of him – which is what everyone else assumed.

And I feel like a dickless piece of trash. I think back to two years ago on the subway ride to school in the morning, when this guy fainted and fell to the floor right in front of me. He quickly came back to, and this other dude and I helped him up and directed him to the TTC guys when they showed up after we pressed the emergency stop. And I remember this woman with her kid, and I remember how the absolute first thing I heard, barely after the guy hit the ground, was this woman telling her kid loud enough for everyone to hear – “Don’t help him, don’t get involved!” And that made me so angry, watching this woman teach her kid to be an asshole in front of everyone. I mean, I don’t care if you don’t want your kid touching a druggie or whatever, but have some fucking class and don’t yell it out in front of everyone. It made me angry. And it made me angry that I didn’t have the heart to stay around and at least kick this leather jacket guy to make sure he was at least alive. I just assumed someone else would check on him, and while I watched from outside, no one did. And I didn’t have any balls, so I hoped for the best and walked away.

I spent all of last night angry at myself. Imagining a Kitty Genovese type headline the next morning in the paper, “Thirty-Eight Who Saw Dying Guy Didn’t Do Shit”. And of course this lead to a whole cycle where I lamented at the astounding amount of apathy in my life, crippling me…and of course, how I’m too lazy to really do anything about it.

Though I’m not really that angry, because I’m too apathetic to have feelings that strong. I’m just a bit depressed at how sad I am. But in the end, I won’t really care too much about that either. And that’s pretty sad too.

Jesus, this post took a depressing turn at the end. I guess I’ll just go get some sleep for now.



Destined to fight the world's evil, The WAMBAG endures massive battles involving impossible stunts, races on horse-pulled carriages, and the desecration of enchanting medieval castles (all done with dizzying computer graphics). Not only does the eye candy keep on coming, the tongue-in-cheek writing and deep Transylvanian accents perfect the film with a dose of dark humor.



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