Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Odd people on the train

I've been in NYC long enough to have seen quite a few weird events and people (thank you subway system).  But something happened a few weeks ago that I thought was extremely funny (and therefore should be blogged!)

I've got a pretty long commute on the train, so I needed something to keep me occupied.  I always forget to recharge my electronics, so it had to be something... old school.  I love puzzles, so I started solving a Rubik's cube (actually I started when I was still living in a cubicle in the corporate world).  After a point, I wanted a bigger challenge, so I started solving the cube with my eyes closed (it took quite a while for me to actually figure it out!)  These days, I tend to solve it with my eyes closed as often as I can - it's a very good challenge, and I really do feel it helps expand my memory capacity.

So a couple of weeks ago, I get on the train, shuffle up the cube, and then start memorizing it.  It takes me about 5 minutes to memorize, and about 2-3 minutes to solve it.  My friends tell me I look like the rain man while I'm at it - and that doesn't surprise me one bit.  As I am memorizing it, I notice a guy sitting across from me acting a little oddly.  Eventually, he started pointing at my cube and saying things to the effect of "it's right there! see it?  You move it this way and you are on your way!"  Basically he was trying to "help" me solve it.  I said (a couple of times) "Yes, thank you; but I think I've got it".  The most annoying part of what he said was "it's so easy!  It's right there!"

I understand the urge for people to try and help others - it's a good urge that I hope more people would have.  But I also think it's important to know when to back off - like when someone really doesn't want your help.

It took me a bit longer to finish memorizing the cube since he kept interrupting and I had to keep saying "yes thanks, I'm pretty sure I know how to do it".  I think he might've been a tad tipsy, so I guess he wasn't trying to be a total douche.

So, finally I finish memorizing.  I take a deep breath and close my eyes.  Then it's just the click-click-clack of my cube as I get started.  I think I heard the guy whisper something along the lines of "what?!" as I started; but I really had to concentrate on the cube.  I do keep my ears out a bit - but only for announcements - I needed the rest of my brain power!

Fast forward a few minutes.  It was a bit pressured since I knew my stop would be coming up (and I was already a little late starting on it).  I speed up near the end and finally I was done!  Well I thought I was done - can't ever be sure till you actually look at it.  The train was just pulling into the station - I started getting up and opened my eyes at the same time; looked down at the cube and I did complete it!

As I stepped towards the door to walk out (the door by the guy), I looked at him, said "good night" and walked out.

I'm not a vengeful person by any stretch of the imagination... but that did feel good.  I remember the look on his face as I stepped off too.

I guess the moral of the story is - please don't ever think you are better than someone else or that you know how to do something better than someone else can.  And most importantly; if someone doesn't want your help - just back off.  Doesn't mean you shouldn't offer it; just know when to stow it.

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