I was waiting for the train to transport me from Universal City to Downtown LA. My feet were killing me. Living in New York City for fifteen years was all the training I needed to perfect the art of walking the streets like a pro but somehow the landscape of LA was different animal.
Every step feels like an accumulated punishment for all the days ahead that will hold you accountable for not navigating the city the right way.
Okay. I get it! I’m a loser. I have to succumb to the moving sanitarium — otherwise known as the bus or get a breather and hop on the Metro Rail.
On this particular day, I was feeling adventurous and decided to give in to the nostalgia of waiting for the train — away from the elements and the laser sharp gaze of the “car people” who sit in awe at the sight of me waiting to be picked up.
I enter the station and the familiar scene of packed bodies in heat — peering through the chaos for hints of the tin can on wheels is replaced by an emptiness that is both refreshing and disconcerting at the same time. I am not used to a calm and controlled platform — but I will gladly accept this new reality.
Then, just like that, he appeared without warning or ceremony. He was a weird white guy. You know the type. He was dressed normally and he had light brown hair but his disposition was eerily erratic.
He kept looking at me as if to make sure that he could log me in as a recipient of his planned festivities.
I wanted to take out my headphones and plug them into Drake’s Hotline Bling. I needed to listen to something that would drastically change the overall tone — but I couldn’t do it.
Suddenly he walked past me and stopped. And then he walked to the end of the platform and stopped.
Fuck! What was he doing? Was he lost or was he trying to decide if the tracks could hold all the bodies he was planning to shoot up because more and more people were heading down the staircase.
I wanted to leave but then I would miss my train, which meant that I would be late to work. I couldn’t afford to be late. Not today.
Damn it. Why was I so convinced this guy was a psycho killer? Well, maybe because he was standing in front of me with a heightened look in his eyes.
Wait? What the fuck? Why was music coming out of my ears? When did that happen?
His lips were moving but I was too frightened to hear what he was he saying. I immediately moved away. Slowly at first and then I picked up speed.
Then I felt the tap on my shoulder. Shit! God, please don’t let me die at the hands of a deranged white man!
I turned around and saw my debit card in his hand. I took my headphones off.
“Hey, sorry you dropped this”. He handed me the key to my survival and I thankfully took it from him.
I was so ashamed and weary with my own psychosis — I decided to walk and walk until I couldn’t walk anymore.
He wasn’t a weird white guy with a gun.
I am a paranoid freak of nature — constructed by the residue of a world gone mad.
We all are.