Jon the Drunk Magnet

I've stood by my word to smile and nod at, hold doors for, say hello to, laugh and overall connect with strangers here.  But sometimes my happy, approachable Americanness backfires on me.  It's the drunks.  The drunks here make me wish I was a stone cold Swede.  For some reason if there is a loud, obnoxious drunk, he/she will engage with me.  It's gotten to the point where I just expect it now.

A few weeks ago I was heading out to meet my friend in the city.  It was about the normal time when people are going to begin their evening of partying.  No one should be plastered at this time of night.  The ride back home, maybe.  That's when people could have had too much to drink.  But now?  No.  So naturally, this drunk is completely passed out on the train in the group of seats next to me.  And naturally, my first instinct is to take a picture of him.  Don't judge me.  I have an Instagram account to keep interesting.  So my drunk muse is passed out with his feet up on the seat across from him; posing perfectly for me, when a group of passengers walk through the train car speaking spanish.

They interrupted my shot so I was slightly annoyed, but worse than that, they woke my model up.  Dammit!  I immediately pretended I was scrolling through my phone looking for something.  Brow frowned up and everything like a true thespian.  The drunk guy heard the spanish and decided to harass the passengers.

       - Hola! Como estas!  Pratar du Spanska?! ("Do you speak Spanish?" in Swedish.)

The kids ignored him and kept walking like true Swedes.  He did a drunk chuckle.  That half-laugh, half-burp/hiccup that drunks do that causes their entire body to shake.  I still had my phone on him ready for him to go back to sleep so I can get my Insta on.  I had a newfound dislike for him because of what he yelled at those kids.  To me it was ignorant and somehow a bit racist.  I was gonna get a picture of this guy for sure.  Then I realized that he was staring at me.  Great!  He wanted someone to join in on the fun with him, I guess.  Now I'll never get this damn picture!  I pretend to find that fake thing I was searching for.  I did my best impression of a Swede on a train.  Eyes forward.  Only person in the world.  I hope no one sits next to me.  But I didn't fool my muse.

       - You look like… You know what you look like?  You look like (inaudible mumbling).

Since he was speaking English, I knew I was busted.  Now on to plan B.  Be an unfriendly foreigner.  If you don't smile and seem friendly he'll leave you alone.  I tried to look a bit menacing.  I tilted my head forward and raised my eyebrows with a face that I thought said "I dare you to say the wrong thing to me.  I kill drunk people on the subway."

       - What?!

But my thespian skills were rusty.  Apparently my face was more like, "I didn't hear you because you are drunk and mumbling.  Please say who or what I look like but don't mumble as much."

       - You look just like uh.. arg… like a brown… (inaudible mumbling).

I didn't catch the end of what he said and I think that's for the best.  Now I had to be completely rude.  In my best Marcellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction voice I said:

       - I think it's best for you that you don't say anything else to me for this ride.

He shrugged his shoulders and went back to sleep.  Now I could finally get my picture...

In a separate adventure I was waiting on a bench for a train and I saw him coming.  This drunk guy.  He had on the drunk Swede uniform.  A Swedish drunk wears at least two layers of shirts under a jean jacket.  Always a jean jacket.  Jogging pants/sweats with an elastic bottom and old, dirty sneakers.  Trust me on this one.  I pass a group of drunks almost every day in my neighborhood.  If you live near a Systembolaget (the government controlled liquor store) as I do then you probably do too.  They always have their uniform on.  I digress.  The guy stumbles over and sits down next to me (of course!) and everyone else besides me gets up from the bench.  I kinda feel bad for the guy.  I had in earbuds so I figure he won't bother me.

Of course he bothered me.  He stared at the side of my face.  I nodded my head harder to my music, but he kept staring.  I glance over to him and he gave me a wide, stained and partially toothless smile.  I smiled back and nodded my head.  My mistake.  Now I have a friend.  A minute passes and then he nudged me.  I pull my earbud out to hear what he has to say.  He yelled anyway (in Swedish).

       - The train comes in three minutes!
       - Tack.

Thumbs up.  Then a girl walks up to wait for the train that I now know is coming in three minutes.  She looks to be between 17 and 20.  Blonde and thin.  My new friend looks to be about a 45-50 year old in the Game of Thrones era.  I feel him staring at me again.  I know why.  I refuse to play.  He refuses to stop staring at me.  He nudges me with his elbow.  I look over without removing my earbuds.  He smiles a creepy smile and tilts his head toward the girl.  I still refuse to play.  I get really into my music again.  He nudges me again and points at the girl.  Still smiling.  I look at the girl, back at him and give a nod and thumbs up.  He is elated!  He grabs my arm and pulls me into a bro-hug thing.  Ew!  He laughs.  I smile and shake my head.  I guess he was kind of charming.  Why me?

Then this past weekend I was heading into the city.  Same train line.  Same friend to meet (maybe I should stop meeting up with him). Different drunk.  This drunk's entrance was one for the stage.  He fell into my view.  Already plastered.  It was about 9:30pm.  How?  Actually he fell into and out of my view.  I saw a body fly across the open area of the train from door to door.  His head hit the pole on the way down.  Everybody turned to see what happened.  I was the only one facing it already and I said "DAAAAMN!"  I couldn't help it.

The guy gets up.  Yup.  He had on the uniform.  Except his hair was half shaved.  Only the left side and half of the back.  It looked like he had done it on his own.  Oh, and he had all of his shirts and jean jacket unbuttoned.  Sexy.  His forehead had a gash on it and blood was slowly beginning to leak from it.  He was holding a whiskey bottle that had maybe two gulps left.  He stumbled to a group of seats and sat down.  Nearby Swedes all got up and changed seats.  He was out of my view.  I heard him from my seat.

       - I am the police!  I am the police!  I'm going to call for more help.  I am the police!

What?  Maybe he was on more than alcohol.  Well hopefully he stays there...  And right on cue he gets up and starts walking toward me.  He harassed everyone on his way through the train car.  He bent over and started asking some girl questions.  She stared straight ahead.  Her male friend engaged the drunk instead.  He asked a few questions that I didn't understand.  The guy got the conversation to an end.  Now he was next to me.  He didn't look at me, thankfully.  Maybe my luck had changed.  He sat in my section though, and started talking to the lady sitting directly across from me.  I noticed he no longer had his whiskey bottle with him.  Had he drank the rest or just left it back at his old seat?  An unsolved mystery.  He leaned over and talked to her.  She was trying her best to ignore him.

       - I'm the Prime Minister of Finland.  I'm the Prime Minister of Finland and I live in Alby (a Stockholm suburb).

       - Oh.  Good.

She nodded.

       - Where do you live?  Do you live around here?

She ignored him and stared more intently at her phone.  It worked!  Well at least he was just saying crazy stuff.  If he starts with me, maybe I can get the conversation to end like that other guy did.  He looked at me.  I felt my heart sink.  But he didn't say anything to me.  He reached over and grabbed both of my arms at the wrist.  Seriously?  Why me?  You've been talking to everyone else and now you want to go and touch me with your nasty whiskey hands and blood running down your face? I snatched my arms away and put my hands up like an NBA player that is a accused of a foul (they never foul).

       - Hey! Don't touch me, bruh!

I sounded like I was back home in South Florida and some thangs were about to be thrown.  I was hoping that this guy wouldn't take it any further.  There was no way I would win if this got physical.  What do I look like fighting a drunk on a train?  "Way to go tough guy.  Picking on a drunk."  Or… "How did he knock you out?  He was so old and slow."  Just what I need in my life.  Thankfully, he decided to leave me alone.  There was a young child and her mother that he needed to harass.  He stumbled over to them.  The child had to be about six or seven.  He sat next to her.  She got scared and sat next to her mother who was looking straight forward (which happened to be where the drunk was) with her eyes stretched, spine stiff as a board.  He said something to the daughter and the mother said nothing.  I was getting angry.  I could see my mother cursing that man out and hitting him with something if he bothered us.  It wasn't time to be a Swede.  It was time to be a lioness.  I found myself hoping that guy did something so I could really put him in his place.  I wanted to protect that little girl and show her that not all people stand by and allow people to act like that.  But he moved on and harassed a few more people.

Our train stopped abruptly and then backed up into the station a bit.  Rumor has it, we hit somebody.  I didn't hear what the guy said over the speakers, but some passengers said we had hit somebody.  Probably a drunk.  I got off and walked to the next station.  My drunk run-in quota had been met for the night.  I switched to the red line to meet my friend that indirectly gets me into these situations.  Thanks bro.  Hopefully my drunk run-in quota has been met for the year.  Until next time...

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