Black Eyed Breeze
January 13, 2020
March 19, 2016
During my time on New York City streets, I did my best to avoid trouble, given that I lacked the physical fortitude to physically intimidate others. I was always told that my instigating nature resulted in me being a magnet for trouble. I quickly found out that the opposite was true, too. If I seemed too quiet and reserved to others, they would take their troubles out on me with minimal guilt because they viewed the homeless as someone they could dispose their worst emotions and thought processes on, like the guy who would later waste police resources reporting me simply because I was wearing a bandanna.
There is another class of New Yorker that is more dangerous than our future encounter with the Sunset Park hipster. The emotionally depraved, workaholic class. This class of New Yorker was always one missed paycheck from financial tragedy and upheaval. This type of New Yorker often hit and scolded their kids in public irrespective of their audience, but would also cave into their child by (irresponsibly) giving them an iPad as a pacifier, because they seek shortcuts over long term solutions. They are incapable of separating sentiment from strategy, which is why despite corrupt politicians whose policies are pricing them out, they continue to live in Kings County (giving them power).
I discovered such a person in [#p0e80v], when I was in and out of sleep on a Manhattan-bound Ⓐ train. After barely making it to the train in a hurry and dealing with a rambunctious adolescent in tow, he decided to unwind by lighting up a cigarette in the train car. At the four hour mark of sleep, I was woken up by the smell. Not being near a window I could open, I got up to look for one I could open in the dated R46 train car.
As I looked for a window, I expressed my frustration toward [#p0e80v], asking him to smolder his cigarette. He angrily refused, and as I tried to walk past him, two of his female colleagues started raising his blood pressure while telling me to "shut the f*** up." Did I consider smoldering the cigarette myself? Yes. Did I? No. He was twice my size. But then, the train stops about 400 yards from Howard Beach due to a signal problem, and I fall in his direction. He takes it as an advance and proceeds to beat me up. The other two women join in.
He then lands a hit on my right eye, knocking it out of sync with my left eye and nearly making me black out. I immediately crouch down to avoid his blows, but then the other women decide to kick me repeatedly. I use my pillow-stuffed bag to parry the blows, and tie the straps around my arm so that they can't separate it from me, a plan I implemented after what happened in Nodine Hill eight months earlier.
Finally, the train door opens at Howard Beach, and I penguin belly slide past them to the open door and roll out, literally. They shout a few more obscenities before the doors close but do not pursue me further. Throughout the beatdown, I maintain that I had no intention of harming them, but they were in this mode where reason was not possible. I know that some instances of police brutality are unacceptable, but my perspective changed after that day. I became a bit more sympathetic to their experience after experiencing such a bloodlust firsthand. They lose all humanity in moments of strife.
I wasted no time addressing my injuries. I sanitized the wound to prevent infection. I used a Ice Gel analgesic to cool it down, and some gauze and medical tape to cover the site (And yes, I carried such a kit with me throughout my time on the streets). I then went upstairs where I noticed some officers nearby. I proceeded to report what had happened. It was 4:30 AM when I approached them. They asked me to follow up at the the district in Briarwood Station, which I did the following day. I shared the above story, and they suggested I check in to the ER, which I did the next day. The ER examined my eye vessel structure and gave me handouts titled "How To Deal With a Conjunctival Hemorrhage". They said I didn't need to stay (likely because of my preventative work early on, which they unintentionally complimented).
It took about two weeks to secure [#p0e80v]'s arrest. I decided against pressing charges because I was still vulnerable. Walking around with a black eye made people even more suspicious of me, and by sharing my story with law enforcement, if people reported me, officers would gloss over it (because the already knew). I also attempted to empathize with the environment most Far Rockaway residents live in, and I know that going after any of them would trigger a cascade of animus that would make it extremely unsafe for me to ever return there. I decided to make adjustments to my sleep schedule so I never fell asleep at that time again in that area. I never ran into him again. I deliberately lied to the Yonkers Service Center (specifically [#a8g47y]) about my injuries to avoid any further encroachments on my independence.
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