Idle Handheld DVD Players are the Devil’s Playground

Manners Last night I was filling in for someone on the night shift where you leave around 11:30pm or so. I didn’t really mind it because I didn’t have to work today. But the library is male-dominated (straight males, no less) which is totally unusual and the two women there don’t normally work nights so there was concern about my getting home safely, something that never really occurred to me. I mean, there are a lot of people out a midnight. Not necessarily great people, mind you, but it’s not desolate. My only complaint is that the subway can take eternity to arrive. You know you’re in trouble when you see workers with brooms leisurely strolling around on the tracks.

Anyway, the F finally came, I grabbed a seat, listened to music for a while and started getting bored. Bored enough to resort to the Good Housekeeping I had in my bag because I’d seen it sitting on the table in the foyer of my apartment on my way to work and didn’t want it stolen even though I’m loathe to read the damn thing. And because I’m mildly retarded, I actually care about what the midnight subway freaks think of my reading material and kept trying to hide the cover so no one would know I was skimming mom fare (meanwhile, I should’ve been concerned with the dead giveaway ad on the back of the magazine with an underwear-clad plus size model showcasing Fruit of the Loom Fit for Me. I’m all for equality in advertising, but the image does scream frumpy demographic) like “How to End Impulse Eating.”

After a few stops the car started getting full and a guy with one of those not-that-small handheld movie viewing devices (ok, I guess they’re called portable DVD players) was leaning up against the door and kind of lumbering over my seat. That propping up only bugs me when people have backpacks or big hoods and they smash your face so he was easy to ignore. However, I did wonder why I only black people seem to have those thingies. No, I’m not a gadget racist but it’s strange that 90% of riders with those players are black men (rarely teens and never women). You don’t see them so much on the F train, but on the A, which I also ride from time to time, they’re way more common, and yes, in Brooklyn fewer white people are on the A. I’ve tried to figure out the logic and all that comes to mind is that maybe their commutes are longer and they need to be entertained or something. (I forget how hour commutes within the same city aren’t normal in much of the country. I recently started emailing with my best friend from high school and she was saying how she needed to change jobs because the 45 min. 20-mile drive from Gresham to Beaverton was so long and I was like it takes me that long just to get to midtown, which is only 6 freaking miles away.) I’ve just never understood the appeal of watching videos on these handheld devices. I feel like I should take advantage of the feature on my iPod but have never had the urge.

At the next stop, there was a shuffling of people getting off and on and the movie player guy sat next to me with an empty seat between us. I was curious what was so engrossing on his small screen so I snuck a quick peek and was greeted by a close up shot of an enormous erect black dick. Ah ha, and then a lively blow job sequence began to ensue. I instantly became re-absorbed in my Good Housekeeping—suddenly those Mr. Pumpkin Heads started looking like pure genius.

Wow, that was rather cocky, ha, sorry, shameless. Yes, shameless. And there I was all self-conscious about a damn Good Housekeeping with Katie Couric on the cover. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Apparently, I need to be more balls out because it’s not like anyone gives a shit what anyone inches from them is up to. I wonder what Good Housekeeping’s resident manners expert Peggy Post would have to say about this little breach in etiquette.

Peggy Post isn’t old yet her column feels like it’s from a different era or at least from a different part of the country. A place where people say please and thank you and apologize when bad behavior is brought to their attention. She published a dilemma a few months ago on how to handle a man in your grocery line who mutters an expletive in front of your child. For fuck’s sake, you’re lucky if the cashier doesn’t call you a cunt to your face unprompted (ok, I exaggerate but let me reiterate my fave Key Food moments).

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