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Saturday, June 20, 2009 09:12 AM
Postscript - A Strange Encounter
 by Fëanor

As an epilogue to the previous post, I must tell you a short story about a strange event which occurred on the Market Frankford El later that night. After the dance, we walked to the nearest El stop so we could take it across town to PATCO and get home. As we were entering the station, we heard our train pull up downstairs and ran down to catch it. poppy bravely threw herself between the closing doors of the train and had to bodily force them back open again. (You'd think they'd be designed to pop back open automatically at the least sign of there being someone caught between them, but apparently not. In fact, the conductor seemed to be deliberately trying to crush people with those doors; another dude almost got himself stuck at a later stop.) She made it through, probably slightly bruised but otherwise none the worse for wear, and I followed her in. As we sat down, a weird drama immediately began to play itself out right next to us. A sitting man was in a loud shouting match with an elderly homeless man who was walking past him with a cane. The sitting man insisted repeatedly that he had seen the homeless man on the Broad Street Line seven hours earlier begging for change. For some reason he was outraged at the possibility that the homeless man was just riding the SEPTA trains over and over, asking people for money over and over. (But really... so what? What's the big deal?) They kept shouting at each other for a number of stops, and the argument kept getting nastier and more threatening. They exchanged various epithets about each other's black asses. I believe their mothers may have also come into it. Eventually the homeless guy (who was literally standing right next to me at this point) put his hand in his bag and said something about stabbing the other guy. I took a sideways glance into the bag to see if he actually had a weapon in there and didn't see anything except a book and some papers. But it was still pretty scary. poppy and I were looking at each other throughout, making faces and exchanging various comments, trying to decide whether we should escape the train that she had risked her life to board and grab the next one instead. But finally the two men exited the train, coincidentally at the same stop, thankfully without having physically attacked each other or anyone else. We were relieved, and the rest of our journey home went smoothly and without incident.
Tagged (?): Philadelphia (Not), SEPTA (Not)
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