My eyeball hurt today. Around lunchtime, I got a stinging in my left eye, like there was a hotel-sized bar of Ivory in it. I took my contact out but my eye kept stinging. It got worse and worse, despite using the Zee medical eye wash (which turns out to be unpreserved saline solution). It hurt to open my eye, it hurt to close my eye, and I only had one contact in. I finally gave up and hauled myself home a bit early.
I hopped on the 4:04 from Penn, one of the lousy new electric trains, and dozed off in a two-seater. By the time we stopped in Amityville, my eye was feeling a bit better. The train dumped most of its passengers at the next three stops, and as we were on the stretch between Lindenhurst and Babylon, I heard some commotion in the vestibule behind me.
A guy who looked like he was straight out of "My Name Is Earl" was arguing with a conductor and swearing loudly. He was pissed that he missed his stop in Lindenhurst or something, so he blamed the ticket taker. The LIRR guy moved on, and then "Earl" started swearing at no one in particular. A woman led her small children away from him because he seemed a bit nuts, one of those guys on the train with a toolbelt and about half his marbles.
As we got closer to Babylon, I got up to get off the train. He was complaining some more to people standing around him, and they were laughing nervously - one of those "don't make eye contact, don't not laugh just a bit" situations. The guy was mad. So mad, in fact, that he was going to show them! He took a hammer out of his tool bag and pretended to smash out the door glass. Then you could see a 5-watt light bulb go on over his head. He took the claw side of his hammer and started scrawling profanities into the glass of the new train car. "FUCK." "SHIT." He was laughing about it because BY GOD he was showing that train car who was boss!
Everyone just sort of stood there not saying anything. He looked at everyone for commiseration, and when his eyes met mine, my mouth opened.
"So now for the next twenty years, we're all going to have to look at profanities you gouged into the window because you were angry?"
Have you ever found yourself suddenly speaking on behalf of about 20 people who wouldn't say anything? "Earl" was taken aback that anyone would challenge him, so he started to puff up and transfer his stupid anger at me. By threatening me if I didn't shut up.
"Seriously, so now people are going to take their kids on the train and the kids are going to have to look at the crap that you just wrote on the window? Why would you do that? What's wrong with you?"
This got "Earl" madder at me. His eyes were starting to bug a bit, and he took the Half-Step Of Menace at me. The one that says "I'm not actually going to take a swing at you, but I could if I wanted to. Because I'm 'Earl.'"
"Where were you raised that you think it's OK to deface a train car like that and take it out on everyone else just because you missed your stop?"
"Earl" glared at me, and defiantly, triumphantly announced "I was raised on Long Island." Then he gave me the "Put YOU down!" glare that is usually only seen in the eyes of my mom's boxers.
I said "Well, most of us were raised on Long Island, and we have enough class not to scratch out train windows because we slept through our stops."
That did it for him. He told me that I'd better shut up NOW if I knew what he meant. I said that no, in fact, I didn't know what he meant, and that for someone who walks around with an American flag hat, he sure doesn't show much respect for his country or his home.
The doors opened in Babylon. I looked around for a conductor to nail "Earl", but there's a special invisible closet where conductors hide at the end of the ride. "Earl" got off the train, proudly repeating the threats against me that hadn't actually gotten me to shut up, and he disappeared down the stairs.
Here's "Earl". Hey scumbag, thanks for scratching up LIRR car 7408.
And here's further resources on LIRR aholes.