Monday, June 28, 2004

Excuse me, Are you Japanese? Part II

In the previous entry, I wrote about what happened to me a month ago.

Now, this happened last weekend, on the Saturday before I went and meet up with Suhil and Naughty Lana.

"Excuse me? Are you Japanese?" an Old man called just as I was walking though the wave of people toward the entrance to the [2] train.

I stopped and looked back.

"Excuse me? Are you Japanese?" He said again.

"I'm not Japanese and you are not either." I replied to the old man with the heavy Korean-accent English.

"I'm Korean. Yes." He walked toward me, carrying two plastic bags. Old sport jacket and dark blue tennis shoes...


"Can you help me?"

"What's wrong?"

Then he start to tell me that he came to New York with a Korean Computer Technology Tourist group, to attend the Computer Science and Engineering Expo at the Javitas Center.

"I have every thing here in the bag to prove it." He looked at me.

Just as he continued to talk more, the live music played by the street performer started to play...

He moved his lips up and down, yet, none of words went though my ears.

He spoke for about 20 more seconds... Then I signaled him to walk away from the band.

"You may not trust me as a person, but trust my age. I'm 60 years old." He said.

Since I missed a good portion of his tale, I assumed that he got separated from the group and the shuttle bus took off without him. Now, he's stuck at Penn Station.

"Uh, Okay"

"What I need, is to go back to Connecticut and also blah blah blah blah blah (He mumbled, I couldn't figure out what he said)"

"Connecticut?" I thought of the Connecticut train station just above the Long Island Rail Road.


"You need the ticket to ride the Connecticut Express way?" I said. Feeling a bit bitter... The ticket for the Connecticut wasn't cheap... Plus I didn't have enough money on me.

"That - and I need some money."

I was speech. I didn't really know what to do at the moment. Scenes from the previous experience flooded my eyes...

How come these things happen to me again? Just because I look Japanese?

"Sir, I understand your problem. But I don't have enough money on me. And also, do you know that you are the second person who stopped me among all other Asians here... Asking for money? I would love to help you, but seriously, I don't have enough cash at the moment. But what I can do, is use my monthly pass for a subway ride."

Disappointed. He reached out and shook my hand.

"Sorry to bother you. Thank you."

Then he walked away.

".............." I turned around and head to the [2] train entrance.

I slid my monthly pass and walked though the gate.

I walked up the stairs and then waited at the platform.

Hrm, another guy trying to cheat my money.

He's another one.

Using old age as an excuse? Pfft, I don't dig it.

I'm a cold cold blooded b*tch princess.

You've gotta do better than that.

I waited and waited... And kept on thinking about how I have made the right decision.

Just a stranger. Why should I give him my hard-earn money?

And waited.

Just an old bastard.

And waited.

Then I saw the [2] train approaching the platform.

The door slid open.

*** Ding *** Bronx Bound Number Two Train *** Next Stop, Time Square ***

*** Ding ***

Then the door closed.

I stood in front of the closed train door.

Then [2] train took off as I walked down the stair back to the main station.

I walked though the gate and went to where the old man was.

I looked around and he was no where to be seen.

I moved closer to the center of the station, stood among of the people waiting for the rail road.

No. Not here.

I went to another corner and looked around.

No. He's not here.

I turned my head to the left...and to the right...

People around me, looked back... Probably thought I was some Chinese Tourist who's lost in the New York train station.

Some of them ignored me.

Some of them looked at me, and then turned away.

Some of them joked with their friend after they turned their head from me.

Connecticut. He probably went up to the Connecticut Express Way to see if anyone can help him.

Like a well trained K-9 Doggy, I speeded up toward the escalators... Then... I spot him.

The old man was putting something into his pocket... And then looked aimlessly...

Looking rather hopeless... He stood in the middle of the crowd...

For some reason, I moved my body behind the pole... Kept a close eye on him. I didn't approach him immediately.

Sad and slowly, he turned his skinny body and walked up the escalator.

I followed, but kept a good distance between us.

Up the escalator... I re-focus my sight on his behind (no, not his butt, but his back).

Wayne, what the heck are you doing? You are going to be late!

I took a deep breath and went up to the old man.

I tapped his shoulder.

Shocked. he turned and looks at me.

"Come on', Let's get you back to Connecticut."

Not quite sure what I meant, he kept on looking at me.

"I can use my credit card and buy you the ticket back to Connecticut."

He continued to look at me.

"However, I cannot help you with the cash. Once you are in Connecticut, you can go to the police station there and ask them take you back home."

"No need. It is okay. Thank you." He started to walk away.

"Wait. Don't you want to at least, get to Connecticut? I can get you a ticket back."

He shook his head.

"I'm going to the police station. I'll fill out a police report. And they will send my information to Korean Embassy."

Huh? I thought.

"Do you still want the ticket anyway? Didn't you just old me that the police will not help you to go back? At least, when it comes to the worst, with the ticket, it will save you a trip. Once you are back in Connecticut, the police there shouldn't have a problem take you to where you need to go."

"No thank you." He reached out and shook my right hand again.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Yes. Thank you."

Wrapped his right hand with my left, I hold his hand firmly.

"I'm very sorry."

"It is okay." He smiled.

"I'm really really sorry." I looked at him in the eyes.

"It is okay." He nodded.

The old man turned his body and walked away.

I turned away, and walk down the escalator.

Though the same people, I walk toward the [2] gate.

I pulled out my monthly pass and slid it at the censor.


I slid the card.


I slid again.



I went up to the ticket booth, handed the lady my card.

"How much longer do I have to wait before I can use it again?"

She slids my card at her machine.

"13 minutes."

"Thank you"


I placed the card back into my pocket.


"Thank you! Thank you!" the Asian lady holding the CDs marched around the live band with the "TIP" bucket.

The Asian man with the Sax moved his body up and down along with the amazing melody he produced.

The Bass player bumped his head up and down and tapped his foot as he grooves to the beat.

The drummer jived to the music.

Leaned against the wall, I listened to the fabulous jazz music performed from the band, and waited 20 more minutes before I use my pass to go though the gate.

No comments: