In The New America People Get Slapped For Doing This

Earlier this year, I was feeling groggy from Cyclobenzaprine and Naproxen that I’d taken to treat my neck spasm. The muscle-relaxant and anti-inflammatory pills often helped, but for the drowsiness that accompanied them. Although my wife had suggested that I avoid grocery shopping, fearing the weariness might get too overwhelming, I followed on with my decision for there won’t be time rest of the week. I knew I’d be somnolent only if my body went on inactive mode, having learned how I responded after taking those pills previously. So, for the entire duration – to the grocery store, shopping, and pushing the cart back to the train station – I was super active.

I’d found a seat near the door – with my cart full of grocery in front of me – when the Path train left Journal Square. Two of the dozen Mexican tomatoes in a plastic bag that I’d kept right at the top peeped out at me. My destination was Newport with Grove Street, the only station, in between; the total travel time not exceeding ten minutes. Though my eyes were involuntarily closed from the drowsiness, I heard both sounds of door slamming shut and footsteps of people as they moved between train cars, the crispy sound when an old man flipped the pages of his book, the constant clickety-clack of the train wheels. I coughed softly a few times, I was aware.

Though I was too dozy to cover my mouth, I was certain that my mouth wasn’t open when coughing. (Wish I was alert enough to use my hands.)

At Grove Street station, a group of people boarded the train, followed by a middle-aged man. The train wasn’t crowded, but all of the seats were taken; the man was left standing. He was wearing a green shirt and black trousers. I closed my eyes; let out a couple soft coughs, my mouth still closed. Within seconds, I heard a sound barreling toward me from my right where the man was standing. “This is sick. You should cover your mouth when coughing.”

angry man

I turned my head to glance at him. He was a short man whose face turned a tinge of red that I thought meant intense dislike for me. I told him, as my eyes were closing again, that my mouth wasn’t open and that I was drowsy from a muscle relaxant. This explanation – that I hadn’t needed to give – didn’t satisfy him, and he came at me more aggressively. “This is America. You’ve no idea what you’re doing.”

None of the people who were sitting across from me uttered a word, which sort of vindicated me because they had the visual that my mouth wasn’t open. I politely told him again that my mouth was closed throughout.

He said, “I’m so sick myself – don’t want any sickness from you.”

Now: he looked sick.

I was not sick.

My unexpected coughs (more like discreet coughs) were perhaps from a can of chilled coconut water I’d drunk at the grocery.

I asserted this time that I was fine, and, “I should be more concerned about catching something from you.”

“In the new America, people get slapped for coughing like that on a public transport,” he said.

I grinned at him – my eyes won’t close for a while now – as I stood up to exit at Newport. My 6’1 frame, as I walked by him, probably forced his mouth shut. Only silence thereon. Glad tomatoes crowned the cart and therefore not crushed.

What I figured out later was that he was livid that even a grocery cart had found a space near the seat. He wanted to take his anger out at someone, and I happened to be the non-white guy he found a punching bag in? If he’d asked me, I would’ve given him my seat (I always do like I always cover my mouth.)

In last more than a decade of our life in the US, this was the first experience of its kind.

I am apolitical, but was as much against Hillary Clinton’s alleged deleting of thousands of emails as I’ve been against President Trump’s fear-mongering rhetoric. The day James Comey testified before the Senate that the President had asked for his loyalty, the following happened in Union Square on 14th Street in Manhattan.

The blocks of dry ice emitted fog that drifted away.

I was a mere witness, didn’t know what to make of this. For some, it meant Trump’s ephemeral longevity; for others, it was a protest against his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. But, let’s not forget that Donald Trump became a president because he had the required electoral votes, although FBI investigation into Russia’s meddling in America’s election is ongoing.

In the new America – yes – anything can happen. Since the new president took office, we’ve heard a few incidents where non-whites, especially Indians, were targeted, resulting in deaths, too. So, I decided to go back to my kickboxing routine. For self-defense. And if the man walked the talk next time, I must be ready.

But, my punching bag will remain a punching bag. I’m non-violence personified.

 

Each contributes in New York City

This is in continuation to my post about New York City. It’s a brief list: I’m sharing what my camera chose to capture.

There are several fountains in the city. Each unique and beautiful. Sit nearby, sip coffee, and watch the flow.622774_10151289577975625_1830168443_o

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There are lane signs galore. This one caught my attention: manages the traffic well.56295_10151316754980625_2082077326_o

It’s the city of pigeons, too. When they’re bored on the ground, they have a vantage point.55405_10151316766690625_132147015_o

Drinking fountain – drink and hydrate yourself.177327_10151316755425625_1871769200_o

Though drivers adhere to the speed limit, there are exceptions and fines.334426_10151289590740625_1888029463_o

No free parking that is615409_10151289592615625_1137667108_o

This is important considering how buildings come up thick and fast.334463_10151289576390625_382414106_o

Where heavy trucks seek rejuvenation56487_10151289594425625_1422531215_o

Free and paid. Upgrade yourself.77777_10151289594605625_1918897414_o

Paid and timed. Or fined.622017_10151289589905625_2022720298_o

There’s no dearth of parking garages; supply meets demand.615953_10151289591200625_1747003207_o

See red, and streets and avenues pause.131693_10151289591630625_1672860108_o

Underpass and tunnel ease traffic congestion.456142_10151289587790625_1316764048_o

Quenching the thirst415752_10151316763690625_887944791_o

This is everywhere, keeping the city healthy.54915_10151289594890625_1903161895_o (1)

When art gets public space and attention

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Plenty of chairs. Can’t be tired for long.134036_10151316754635625_19978666_o

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A bus stop waits for engines and hearts.200935_10151289591855625_1225518007_o

Subway entry. Tranquil stairs now.413297_10151289591430625_532724696_o

Wanna call? Have the coins?337165_10151289580085625_1804629126_o

Go round and round, child.175206_10151289589560625_1230927842_o

Time’s everything.415679_10151316773120625_1116823728_o

 

 

 

From Resilience Of Ground Zero To Reality Of 9/11 Memorial

We visited the 9/11 Memorial soon after it opened to public on Sep 12, 2011. These pictures were taken then.

I’d like to quote what Barrack Obama, President of the USA, said on the occasion:

When people visit the 9/11 memorials in the future, they will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America. They will be reminded that we are not perfect, but our democracy is durable, and that democracy — reflecting, as it does, the imperfections of man — also gives us the opportunity to perfect our union. That is what we honor on days of national commemoration — those aspects of the American experience that are enduring, and the determination to move forward as one people.

The South PoolIMG_3870

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The North PoolJanuary 2012 063

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One of the WTC buildingsIMG_3865

Survivor TreeJanuary 2012 087

Transportation HubJanuary 2012 099

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HeroismJanuary 2012 095

The ParkJanuary 2012 106

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