Britney Epiphany: Oops, I did it Again (and again)

It’s been rainy and I have been combing my wee wittle brain for non-dogshit related infotainment… Enjoy. Or not. Frankly, I do not give a shit either way.

Britney Spears has gotten a lot of flack of late and it is starting to get me a bit angry.

I do not like someone I consider brethren being drug through the mud for ‘being real’. Wearing rollers, eccentric apparel, and/or toting a child in one hand with a beverage in the other (preferably while wearing high heels) in public is, by Greenpoint standards, *quite* real. It’s normal, actually— and that’s why I live here.

If you’re listening out there Britney, you and your loved ones can visit me at Half-ass Junction anytime. I will not judge you. I got laughed at once while submitting art to the small works competition hosted by NYU (in Manhattan) while wearing hair rollers. My art speaks for itself and my person was getting prepped for other things, thank you.

The fact that the person taking submissions and I got into a rather heated debate over whether or not the electrical cord attached to my device (constructed of an old vibrator, pot scrubber and night light) factored into the overall dimensions (12″ or less in ANY direction) is probably inconsequential, but the outcome was funny as hell. A curator was summoned to settle the argument and with Solomon-like wisdom she rendered her verdict: well, if it was a toaster, you would need the cord in order to plug it into an electrical socket. None of my works made it into that juried show, but victory was mine. I won the battle, but lost the war.

When did I get my affection for Britney, the rest of you ask?

My answer is very simple: when that Pepsi ad with her and Bob Dole aired. Eons ago.

That ad made me laugh my ass off because:

  1. (I suspect I am speaking for the general public here) the fact that Bob Dole rectified his ‘droopy hose’ problem (via Viagra or Pepsi) is decidedly not something I wanted or needed to know. No doubt it made Elizabeth work harder to establish her political career (if you know what I mean).
  2. I am very fond of the caveats for such “E.D.” drugs: especially priapism (an erection lasting more than 4 hours) and blurred vision. I have giggled myself silly many times at the thought of Bob Dole trying to dial 911 (with blurred vision) because he’s gotten up and can’t get down. Maybe they should make panic buttons for this sort of eventuality; with baby boomers retiring, the demand is only going to go up (no pun intended).
  3. Slobs knocking wood to the visage of an unattainable woman is par for the course. I know this because I am female, have a pulse, live in New York City and use the subway.

Apparently, the New York Times and MTA have recently caught on the aforementioned point as well.

Speaking for myself, I have had three encounters with subway masturbators. None of them ventured to touch me and for that they can thank their good luck. I take my personal space very seriously; as Jim Morrison would say, “no one gets out of (t)here alive”.

  1. After visiting friends in Greenpoint (back when I lived in *gasp* Kensington), I took the G down to Lorimer St. to catch the L to go to Manhattan. As I was putting on lipstick, I see a man a yard away from acting strangely. Is he scrounging around for change in his pocket? No. He is actively flogging his kielbasa. I caught him in flagrante delicto. Great.In a subway car of thirteen people, men all, I was the Judas Iscariot (replete with albeit FAKE, red hair); I got up and pointed out to every MTA patron in the car that this guy was tossing off. Most ignored me, but a couple of guys chose to help. I am eternally grateful to those men. As politically-incorrect as the following may sound, it is the simple truth: a Polish man jerking off on the G train will invariably find a middle-aged black man laughing at him (and calling him a “Sick Fucker”) a buzz-kill. Joe Tossoffski bolted at the Nassau Avenue stop and my life reassumed its relative normalcy.
  2. Riding the G, Queens-bound: I see this paunchy, middle-aged Hispanic dude staring at me and a couple of teen-aged chicks. He is playing ‘pocket pool’. I tell the girls this and they laugh at him. Nothing happened.
  3. (Strike Three): May 2002. I was coming home from a date in Astoria, Queens. I was riding the Manhattan-bound N train in order to transfer to the 7 and (eventually) catch the G to the mighty Greenpoint. It didn’t exactly work out that way.

When the N train hit 36th Ave., (once again) I see a man acting strangely. Once again, I have managed to cross paths with a man jerking off on public transportation. And (once again), I make the patrons of said car aware of it. Three men (whom I like to call the magi) acknowledged this: one gets squeamish, the second laughs at him, and the third is stone-faced, but watching. 39th Ave. goes by. Nothing.

Queensboro Plaza: the stone-faced man makes sure I exit the train. I did. The giggler and squeamer stay. The conductor of the train shouted something at me— to this day I have no recollection of what he said— but I shouted back “There’s a guy jerking-off on THAT train!”

Conductor: which car?

Me: THAT ONE (while pointing to the second or third car from the front— my memory fails me at the moment).

The N train pulled out (towards Manhattan). Two or three cars, just enough. Then it came to a screeching halt. Sirens go off. Very, VERY, scary. Over a dozen policemen (plainclothes and otherwise) storm the car. I hid behind a column.

They apprehend the man in question and an officer locates me. He tells me I have to file a report at HQ. I tell the officer that I am unemployed and have plenty of free time.

The officers interviewed the masturbator (who claimed he was scratching himself) and then they interviewed me (the man in question was, most decidely, NOT scratching himself). They pat down the perp and he has drugs on him. I did give them probable cause, after all.
So it goes…

The train (finally) pulled away 20 minutes later. As it did, I saw the ‘giggler’. He was jumping up and down, waving, and giving me a “thumbs up”. It took all my restraint to keep from waving back.

I spent the entire evening (until 4:00 a.m.) at the Queens hub of Transit Police HQ. Briarwood, Queens to be exact. And what followed was the most entertaining evening I have ever experienced. Period. The fact that it was financed by tax dollars (my own included) made it only that much sweeter. When you grouse about paying taxes, remember the following…

I was driven by police car from Queensboro Plaza to Briarwood by the head honcho himself. In transit he tried to deduce if I was drunk or otherwise acquainted with the perp: no on both counts. Sure, I had a couple of beers— two to be exact— but that was over 4 hours ago. I had comsumed four cups of Greek coffee in the meantime. The officer grilled me as to what “Greek coffee” was. I told him it was basically the same thing as Turkish coffee (high octane coffee, no alcohol), but don’t tell that to a Greek person— they’ll find that offensive. He asked me why and I gave him middle-eastern history primer.

By the time we got to Briarwood, he knew I was not drunk: a weird chick wired on caffeine with a command of history to be sure, but not a drunk one. A person who is highly unlikely to run in the same social set as the dude they apprehended.

They made sure the perp did not see my face; they put him in lock-down before I even entered the station. I got to hang out in their office space while they negotiated the paperwork.

Clearly these men are not acclimatized to dealing with women who are not perps, e.g., some (hot-ish, heavy on the “ish”) broad hanging around in their quarters who is a plaintiff. Once they got used to me being there they opened up— and we had a shitload of fun.

They asked me why was there and I told them. We laughed.

They asked me who was on the back of my jacket. Mao Tse Tung, I answered. A couple of them knew who he was, but most were puzzled.

I asked them whose cube had the picture of Clint Eastwood in it, but they wouldn’t tell me. Oh well…

If any of you out there are wondering what transit police deal with (and vice versa), I’ll tell you:

  • First and foremost, you should be mindful that anything that goes down on rapid transit falls under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority, a peculiar inter-state entity. And copious paperwork will follow.
  • Secondly, a lot of very weird shit goes down on the subway system. I learned this firsthand, as some dude pre-empted my complaint on their docket by trying to set a token booth on fire with a Mr. Bubble bottle filled with lighter fluid. The officers also told me some of their work stories, and if there is one moral to parsed from the whole lot of them it this: do not fall asleep on the subway. EVER.

    If you’re lucky, you’ll be pick-pocketed. If you are unlucky (and male) you may wake up in the drunk tank and have an officer tell you that a man was administering fellatio to your person while you were passed out. Whole bunch of no fun.

By 4:00 a.m. the police gave up on interpreting the new paperwork from the D.A.’s office and I was driven home. I got home around 5:00 a.m. and was so hopped-up on (free) Diet Pepsi I could not go to bed. I finally fell asleep around 7:00 a.m.

I was awakened at 8:30 a.m. by the Queens County D.A.’s office. I answered her questions. Shortly thereafter, an officer came by my apartment to have me sign a statement. I read it and signed it. The arresting officer would testify on my behalf. Good. I go back to bed. About 30 minutes later my mother calls and berates me for sleeping and not looking for work.

No good deed goes unpunished. But then again, I think I earned my severance pay that day (and then some), thank you.


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