September 1, 2004
I describe my days in New York as Bad New York Days and Good New York Days. The extremity of each is heightened in NYC even compared to Chicago. I have had the crazy neighbor, had the penis flasher guy…the meningitis. On good days I have seen celebrities, free concerts, visited Macy’s Santa Claus…central park. The good days (thank goodness) are a much longer list.
Today was a bad New York day-but only for a little while. I guess the fact that I got over this episode quickly is a bad sign? I am not sure. I should probably be a bit more shaken.
I dropped my 2-year-old off at Nursery School today-her first day there. She was a champ…didn’t even say goodbye, just walked up the stairs to join the fun. I was thinking about her as I made my way to the Subway. I had a transfer after only 2 stops. I was thinking about the Republican National Convention being in town, and the heightened terror alert and equally heightened security. I suppose I was a bit on edge about where I was going and what I was doing, and being newly pregnant heightened all emotions.
I got off the platform and looked around doing a quick inventory of who was in my midst….this has become second nature. The platform was pretty quiet and I quickly passed into my own world. I was staring out at the tracks and did not feel anyone approach me on my right or left, just felt fingers hit the left upper side of my head, grab onto my hair and pull me down about a foot. This young, tall black woman with a red turban, blue shirt and black skirt looked me in the face and yelled at the top of her lungs: “Why are you doing that?” Then she let go and backed up, still staring at me, and walked further and further down the platform. I was stunned. The episode was swift and quite painful. At first I think I was thinking: “She’s got the wrong person.” Then I was thinking: “What was I doing?...ok just standing there…alright…this woman must be crazy”
I looked around and saw that a few other folks had witnessed the episode. I took a few deep breaths and tried to think straight. As long as she was still on the platform, I felt threatened. An older black woman seemed to offer her help through her body language, so I stood between her and the 20 or 30 feet that now separated us from the crazy lady…I think I might have even held onto her arm. I might have asked “What should I do?”…either with my body language or my voice….but she told me to go get a cop. When I saw crazy lady advancing back, I quickly ran up the stairs and told a construction worker that I needed help. At that point I couldn’t really articulate because then I started to cry….I got an MTA worker to come down with me because she said there was a cop down there. By the time I got down the stairs with her, the old lady informed us that crazy lady had gotten on the V train and was gone. At that point I felt relief and then frustrated that I couldn’t warn her next victim.
The E train came right then and I got on. I cried for the next 20 minutes as I could feel my head throb. I wondered if she pulled any hair out. I think I was so freaked out mostly because I didn’t fight back and my imagination thought about how much worse it could have been. Thank goodness I was safe. I made it to my go-see for Clinique. It was on video, which is pretty rare. They videotaped all angles of our face and than asked us to talk about something interesting…that wasn’t hard to figure out. A bad New York Day...and I didn't get the job, but 2 years later the man who did that casting recognized me, so at least I was memorable when I told my story.