Back when it seemed okay to sit outside Pen Station drinking a 40 of Crazy Horse.  It was a carefree afternoon for me although a lot of workers and business persons were scurrying about like cockroaches spying a raised shoe.


I have my beer concealed in a brown paper bag.  I was always told that was the unwritten code.  Conceal the label and you won’t get hassled.  A woman sees me drinking and decides to sit next to me.  She is also consuming beer.  Now, we’re no longer drinking alone.  It’s become a social imbibition.  


We are talking a bit about drinking.  She reconfirms the notion that the brown paper bag makes it okay.  There’s a discussion on society and then she brings up the topic of sex.  She’s intimating that under the right circumstances, she might be willing to give me a go.


She’s a person that has lived a hard life and isn’t all that attractive.  Like a lot of hard drinkers, she wears the scars of the lifestyle.  The thought of a physical encounter holds little allure.  I see no point in hurting her feelings.  I’ll be on a train in an hour and unlikely to ever see her again.


“Maybe another time.”


I finish off my bottle.  I have a six pack of Genny Cream Ale in my backpack. (These were lean times.)  I crack one open and give one to my new friend.  She accepts the beer and thanks me.  I figure she has even less discretionary income than I do.


I begin commenting on how New York isn’t all that dangerous or violent like they show on TV and the movies.


“Oh, it’s that bad.” she assures me, “Nobody bothers you because you look too poor.” 


I had never thought of it that way before.  Nobody thinks it’s worth the time to attack me.


“Your clothes aren’t that great and you don’t wear jewelry.” she continues.  “They don’t think you have any money or anything worthwhile.”


I didn’t take offense.  I looked at my cheap watch and realized I was going to need to catch a train soon.  I gave her one more beer from my six pack and said goodbye.  I would still have beer for the train ride back to Trenton.


And much more importantly, I walked away with wisdom and a lesson learned.  To this day, I try to avoid showing any signs of wealth in my journey.  I avoid lavish jewelry and designer labels on my clothes.  It seems to have taken me very far.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

This was a life lesson learned when I was only 19 years old.  For the record, I was grandfathered in in New York.  I turned 19 before they raised the drinking age to 21 so I was legally allowed to indulge.

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allets's picture


The absorption of one substance by another, in particular the uptake of water by a plant or seed. Definition: "The imbibition of water through the membrane - works well for drinking together too - a new word for me. Thank you. - slc



georgeschaefer's picture

It's always good to learn

It's always good to learn something new.