Monday Mornings are bad commuting days. I was extremely tired from a very nice weekend. I imagine the train crew for the 6:56 train from Ronkonkoma to Atlantic Terminal was every bit as tired as I. Certainly my fellow riders were tired.
Because I was encsonced in my Bose headphones if not in velvet, I never noticed that we were running late. It was Monday and I should have just assumed that we would be late. Nevertheless, I did not and when I got to Atlantic Terminal the only odd thing I did notice was that the subways were also late. Usually they act up on Wednesdays and run pretty regularly on Mondays. I ran up one platform only to learn that the next train was coming in on the other platform. I missed that subway.
The next train on my platform was due in 20 minutes. The train that was originally due in 12 minutes on the other platform was now down to 5 minutes. I made the trip downstairs and upstairs but I immediately recognized my mistake.
There was a man crying.
As if I hadn’t had enough on my plate. The rail road was late. The subway was even later. It was Monday and I hate being be late on Mondays and now there was a man crying.
The man was not only crying, he was bleeding too. A real mess. It was hard to see what caused the bleeding as there was a large screw driver sticking into his side and blocking the view. Perhaps it was the screw driver that was causing the bleeding? Perhaps it was the screw driver that was causing the crying.
Well, I was already late and had absolutely no time or interest in getting involved. I was not alone. My fellow passengers anxiously awaiting the 2 train gravitated down the platform seeking refuge from the crying man. I assumed my train face. No eye contact, a look of oblivion, and the appearance that I am somewhere else.
The man was crying louder than ever and the blood kept gushing but I passed him by. I was not alone. The Presidential candidates were there and they passed him by. The religious right looked the other way. Liberal Catholics, Orthodox Jews and Moderate Muslims all walked right on by. I could almost hear Dion Warwick singing. The Pro Life and Pro Choice people were bumping into each other trying to get out of there. The Evolutionists agreed with the Creationists that the best thing to do was to leave. Prohibitionists and Abolitionists of all shapes and sizes moved quickly to avoid eye contact with the crying man.
Then the rumbling of the 2 train momentarily overtook the crying of the bleeding man. The doors opened and we all rushed for a good seat trembling with the fear that only a bleeding man who was crying threatening to sit next to you could cause.
We all exhaled, “Thank God!” The crying man stayed on the platform bleeding and crying.
There was a man crying. He wasn’t bleeding and there was no screw driver stuck into his side. But he was screaming and crying and in no less pain than if he had been pierced with a screw driver. There was a man crying because he was mentally ill. We have all witnessed the mentally ill somewhere whether it was in the city or in a small suburban town.
When I saw this man crying this Monday morning I wondered why I was so comfortable leaving him in his agony when had he been bleeding with a screw driver in his side I and 50 other people would have been rallying to his aid? Why is that?
If I was the crying man, would you not stop and help me?
I don’t know who the next President will be but I hope he or she can actually get somebody to do something. We have good people in this world, we don’t have to wait for a new President so why is it so impossible to help a man crying on a subway platform on a Monday Morning?