Crazy people. Whether it's their questionable choice of attire or their absolute disregard for social mores, they never fail to brighten my day.
When I first got to NYC, about a year and a half ago, these people stood out like bat-shit-crazy sore thumbs. On my way to work one day I saw a guy pretending to give a live TV weather report right in the middle of a busy intersection (only without cameras, or a microphone, or a fucking clue what he was talking about.) He just kept saying words like "precipitation" and "easterly winds" completely out of context. Another time, in Duane Read, I noticed a lady rummaging through the candy isle mumbling incoherently. Finally, she settled on some sort of industrial-sized bag of Twizzlers, before turning to me and explaining how the FBI was after her, and that she needed Twizzlers for her escape. Then, at Penn Station one day, while waiting in line for tickets, I noticed a man walk calmly up to a trash can, reach in for a Big Gulp, and suck the last bit of liquid through the straw like a Shop Vac, before tossing it aside nonchalantly.
And then, there's my favorite. The craziest of the crazies... the elevator lady. Yes, that's the actual elevator lady. Someone else, obviously captivated by this woman, uploaded a video of her to YouTube. There's 8 million people living in NYC, but strangely it makes perfect sense that I found her in about 30 seconds by typing "crazy NYC subway lady" into Google. I've never seen anything like the elevator lady.
She was furious, sneering across the subway platform at a normal-looking couple standing in front of an elevator. "Fuckin' elevator. Fuckin' idiots. Think they're taking the elevator. Those idiots," she spat.
This went on for some time. I doubted the elevator lady knew this couple, but she seemed thoroughly invested in their lives. I was intrigued so I kept listening. She chuckled to herself and threw up her hands. "Hey morons!" she shouted, through cupped hands. A few people turned at which point she went back to a quiet mumble. The couple across the platform was completely oblivious.
I was convinced the show was over. But then, out of nowhere, like she heard some sort of crazy-person-dog-whistle that only she could hear, she bolted off, straight toward the couple. I wondered if I should warn them. I decided against it. What would I say? "A crazy lady might push you in front of a subway"? I didn't want to be liable for whatever was about to happen. Instead, I just stood there and watched:
She march right up to them and immediately got to work, trying her best to jar the pair of unsuspecting strangers from their quiet, sane existence. I couldn't hear what she was saying, but her hands were doing most of the talking, anyway. As she spoke, the man looked confused. But as she went on, pointing and blabbering, a look of concern overcame him. Then, the crazy lady began to make emphatic hand gestures at the elevator. Stomping her feet.
Suddenly a train pulled into the station. The lady took off as if nothing had happened. The couple looked relieved, and unbelievably perplexed. I decided to approach them.
"What did she say to you guys?" I asked.
"She said something about the elevator being out-of-order. But way crazier than the way I just said it," the man's wife replied.
I nodded. I looked at the elevator; it looked fine. Moments later, as my train chugged into the station on the opposite track, the elevator door opened and a group of passengers filed out.
"Fuckin' idiots," I thought to myself, smiling, as I boarded my train home.