Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Subway Story

This is a story about something strange that happened on the New York subway.  Luckily...on this day...Chad was with us. 

We got on the subway that would take us all the way to staten island.  We were going to visit the Statue of Liberty on our last day in New York.  Now, there are many unique people in New York, to say the least.  But most of them harmless.  There are some crazies...sure.  But most are not out to make you feel uncomfortable or in danger.  Especially at 10:00 in the morning, on the subway.

We boarded the train and Chase and I sat down in two seats that were available on the right of the open door side.  Chad stood to our right in the isle, gripping that nasty pole running down both sides of the ceiling.  We smiled, and chatted, and laughed, and Chase (true to form) grabbed my phone to play angry birds to help pass the time.

That's when I noticed a man sitting directly across from me.  I'm terrible at guessing ages...but I'm thinking he was probably in his late 50's/early 60's.  He looked totally normal.  Like he could be a grandpa.  And to further display his normal-ness...there where two perfectly pleasant and age appropriate women sitting next to him.  They had maps and he had a camera around his neck...no different than 50% of the people in the city.  No different than us.

However, something about this man made me instantly uncomfortable.  It was the way the camera was positioned in his lap and the way his left hand caressed it and easily pointed it in my direction.  His right hand was the give away though.  It was in his jacket pocket...casually resting on the right top of the camera...right on the shutter button.  The subway was filled with people...going about their everyday business...and no one else seemed to notice this.  This is when you can start feeling like you are crazy.  That you are making a big to do about absolutely nothing, and that you are silently drumming up a crazy situation in your head that is sure to be a subconscious memory of some wacky scene you saw in a movie somewhere.  But you watch, and you wonder and you question anyway. 

The point that I remember most was when I looked directly at the camera lens and then directly into the man's eyes.  He stared me in the eyes...made no expression...and I knew.  I knew that this guy was taking my picture...over and over again.  And I sat there, helplessly.  I found myself starting to try and hide my face and then realizing that I couldn't hide my whole body the way I instinctively wanted to and then began to worry that he was taking pictures of my son...innocently sitting next to me.  I looked at Chad.  I looked at Chase.  I looked at the guy and then at the ladies sitting next to him.  My eyes flashed to the other people in the train...back to the guy...back to Chase...and then back to Chad.  The way I looked at Chad made him lean toward me and say, "What?"  I moved my head so that the man could not see me and mouthed, "He is taking pictures of me."  Chad looked confused and said, "What???"  I said it again and
Chad stood up and casually looked over at him.  He looked back at me and kinda frowed that, "No he's not" frown and shook his head no.  He didn't believe me!  Am I going crazy?  I quickly and adamantly said, "Yes.  He.  Is."  Chad looked back and began to watch.  He still wasn't sure.

There was a man standing across from me...sort of positioned next to the man with the camera.  I watched him casually lean back and look at the picture window on the camera.  I held my breath and thought...he will see it...surely he will see it.  And then he looked up at me and smiled.  Not a weird smile, but a comforting one.  A familiar one.  He was telling me.

I looked at Chad and nodded in his direction.  I said, "he saw."  Chad looked at the man standing and made eye contact.  The man cut his eyes down to the camera and then nodded at me...all while silently speaking loudly and deliberately to Chad.  I got chills.

Without another second going by, Chad leaned down in the man's face and said forcefully, "Excuse me.  Are you taking pictures of my wife?"  He said, "No."  Chad said, "Let me see the the last few pictures you have taken on your camera."  He said, "I'm not showing you my camera."  Through this brief exchange...he was quickly deleting, while holding the camera close to his body.  Chad said, "You show me the pictures or I will get security in here right now."  He got flustered and Chad looked at the women and said, "Are you both with him?"  They nodded and Chad continued, "Do you know what he is doing with these?"  They blankly said, "No" and shook their heads and looked at him and back at Chad.  That's when the man began apologizing and saying that he was a tourist and that it was just a hobby and for enjoyment.  Chad said, "You will delete every picture of my wife off of your camera" and the man nodded yes and apologized some more.  Then he looked at me and apologized.  He just kept deleting picture after picture...not letting Chad see what he was deleting.  I was frozen.  The man that had been standing, looked at me and said, "It's good that your husband said something to him" as he stepped off the train that had stopped.  It made me wonder what images of me he had seen in the picture window.  Then the guy stood up and the women stood up and they quickly got off the train.

I looked at Chad in disbelief.  I looked around at everyone staring at us.  I looked at Chase.

He was still playing angry birds.

I learned to trust my instincts.........and my husband's protection.

1 comment:

Meredith said...

chills. creepy chills. so glad that all went down. hopefully now those women with that creep scumbag will start asking some serious questions.

I don't know what is happening, but crap is getting uncovered EVERYWHERE. it is time for people to stand up (yay CHAD!) and do something about this!

good for you for trusting your instincts!!

praying that guy gets an encounter with the Living God to bring him to his knees!