How the Day Turns

This morning started out the way a lot of my mornings seem to start out — by being woken up by an animal.  This time the little old dog was slurping away on his leg (near my head) and woke me up.  I responded in kind by thwacking his head.

Listen, I’m not a morning person.  I’ve never been a morning person.  When I was a baby, I was a sleeper.  I don’t like getting up early unless it’s to catch a flight for vacation.  For that I make an exception.  But to be woken up by slurping really makes Neeners unhappy.  So unhappy that she thwacks dogs and talks about herself in the third person.

So other than being rudely woken up, the morning proceeded as normal.  I knew it was going to be cold outside, so I got out my thick winter jacket and walked briskly to the train station.  Once I got on the car I started to get my iPod out of my purse when someone tapped me on the shoulder.

“Excuse me”, the gentleman said.  Keep in mind people don’t usually talk to each other on the train in the morning, let alone to total strangers.

“Yes?”, I answered suspiciously.  I was sure he wanted money.

“I’m afraid it looks like a bird attacked you,” the man apologized.

Remember, I’m not a morning person and my brain wasn’t fully awake.  I honestly thought for two seconds he meant I had feathers on me.  I thought, “this coat is great, I never felt a thing!”.  Then after the third second I understood what he meant and started looking for the evidence.

“Your right shoulder,” he explained.

I didn’t see anything at first, but then after twisting just so I saw it.  Great.  Wonderful.  I’m walking around with bird shit on my shoulder.  Gross.

“Here you go,” my new pal said, and handed me a handiwipe.  “By some fluke I just happen to have this!”  (Really?)

“Thank you so much!”  I started wiping up the mess.  I still couldn’t see everything because of the sheer size of the coat, but that was OK.  I felt comfortable asking my buddy “Did I get it all?”

“No…” he said hesitantly.  He’d already acted unexpectedly by a) not asking me for money, b) giving me his last handiwipe, and c) talking to me.  I guess he decided there was no turning back, and he asked if I wanted him to wipe it off.  So he cleaned it up for me.

After I thanked him profusely, I moved across the car to lean against the opposite side doors (a big no-no according to the signs, but everyone does it) and began listening to my tunes.  He turned around to face the car door on his side, as his stop was next.  I was just getting ready to cross the car to tap him on the shoulder and say thanks again, but before I knew it he was gone.

I’ve seen a lot of bad behavior on the subway: loud music, pushing, begging for money, farting, etc..  I’ve also seen good behavior: giving up seats for the hurt/elderly/pregnant, talking to children, holding the door for someone.  But I’ve never seen a stranger clean shit off someone else.

Thanks for continuing to surprise me, big city.  And thanks especially to my subway friend for giving up his last handiwipe for a grumpy lady sporting poo.

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