About a week ago I was held hostage on the subway. Not by guns and the like but by words.
Rightfully convinced that I had a sinus infection, my sister agreed to drive me to our family doctor, out in New Hyde Park, before her afternoon class. We had to leave early though, because she would need to drop me back at the train after my appointment, then dash off you class. I slept at our father's place that night; we didn't yet have internet/tv yet in our new place, and can you imagine being sick with no distractions? Que horror!
In the morning I get up (very early for me... perhaps 6am?) to be out by 7:30, to meet the sister downtown by 8:30 to drive to my 9:30 appointment. I'm out on time, my head is pounding and I catch a 1 train down to columbus circle. As I wait on the A platform, a man starts preaching at a decibel level seriously inappropriate for the 8am hour. But okay, sure. New York is full of stuff like this. I can handle it. I just walk away. I can still hear him, calling me to take his Lord Jesus into my heart, or face eternal damnation. I'm cool with eternal damnation. I'm sick. I'm not so far away as it.
An A train arrives. The express. I get on.. and guess who else decides to get on in my car. Wanna-be Preacher man (although he is preaching, I am under the impression that there is some sort of training, other than simply finding jesus, that one must undertake to officially be a preacher) gets on too. My car.
It is one thing to preach in a relatively open space, like a subway station. I don't particularly appreciate it, but at least I had the option of walking away. In my silent 8am A express train, where it is hard to move between cars because they almost never stop and the in-between part scares me, there is no escape.
Preacher-man begins preaching. He tells us of his crack addiction. Tells us of his devotion to crack, and how now he has parlayed* his devotion for crack into devotion for Lord, Hallelujah! When I say tell, I do not mean he went one by one and told us a story. No, his booming voice echoed in the subway car, making my poor little head feel like it was going to explode. Being the nice girl I did the only thing I could think of... I yelled back at him.
"Excuse me! It's a little early! Could you keep it down?" By which I meant could you shut the fuck up. He didn't look like he had a knife, but he was a bit bigger than me, and an alleged former crack addict. You never know. I received nods of approval and sounds of agreement from my fellow passengers.
But no. Preacher man just kept preaching louder. I hadn't heard the message. His message of Jesus. His message of enjoying the sound of his own voice, and holding us captive to his beliefs. I shouted at him again, considered violence, then just gave up. I could have incited a riot against this man, but it seemed a really poor way to go. RIP, Daniele Kohn, for starting a fist fight with a wanna-be preacher on the A train. No, Thank you.
*He didn't use the word parlay. That was my take.