My left arm smells faintly of cheap percolator coffee. Today, I collided with another man on the subway platform, and his deli coffee popped its top and tinkled on me. I only got a small taste of it, which is lucky, but I'm surprised this has never happened to me before. It just seems like, with so many people jammed into such a tiny little slab of geography, my number should have been called up long ago for an accident like this.
As the coffee-carrying gentleman backed away and reorganized his beverage, I just sort of stood there, gently brushing my arm, not sure whether to curse, throw a fist, or exchange insurance information. I think I have a natural tendency to expect that any human contact, particularly one as aggressive as this, will come to a very natural resolution. In this case, I believed the appropriate resolution would have been a heartfelt apology FROM HIM.
But as soon as he straightened himself out, he kind of shot me a look that seemed to suggest – and I'm no behavioral scientist but I'm going to give this a shot anyway – a little bit of "F You" was coming to me. Now I understand, in situations like this, it's often difficult to determine the source of the collison, but I felt like this one was pretty cut-and-dry. I put it to you, the reader: Who was at fault? Was it the coffee-carrying gentleman wearing sunglasses on an underground subway platform, with headphones in (no doubt playing the latest Pussycat Dolls album), walking forward with his head craned nearly all the way behind him in order to afford a better view of the businessman and pair of MTA workers trying to fish a cell phone from the train tracks with a large claw-ended pole? Or was it the other guy, who was brimming with awesomeness and had finished reading a book about the art of ninja?