Signs that warn of ‘wet paint’ within New York City subway stations are misleading. Rarely is there wet paint on the steel beams that support the underground tunnels where these signs are posted. Subway workers, when painting the subway beams, only offer touch-ups. The warning signs left behind remain for weeks after the painting is done. Most commuters ignore the threat of drying enamel paints in the tunnels.
School children sometimes rip the paper warnings and re-assemble the red letters on white paper to read ‘Ain’t Wet”.
Yesterday, I noticed such a sign, one that had not yet been torn and edited by school children, and as usual, I ignored the warning, placing my foot upon the beam, to lean in comfort upon the large slab of inverted steel as I waited for the A train.
Sure enough, just as the doors to the silver train slid open and I made my move to enter, I noticed that my wool winter coat was stuck to the beam, upon what was indeed, real wet paint.
Quickly I rushed to grab the last empty seat on the subway, nearly having to elbow a Hasidic Jew for squatting rights. I sat next to a Chinese woman who was hogging most of the orange, plastic chair with a shopping cart. She had balanced a bundle of blue recycle bags filled with what appeared to be firecrackers upon the bulky cart. Upon further investigation, I noticed that inside the bags were millions of fortunes that apparently would be stuffed inside fortune cookies once the train made it to Canal Street.
I was relived that if indeed there was a green spot of paint on my winter coat that nobody could see it. Those on the subway car seemed to be preoccupied by attempting to read the tiny font of the fortunes inside the bags.
The train rolled into the 14th Street Station and I stood up to exit, looking behind to be sure I didn’t leave any wet paint on the subway seat. Sure enough, the mark of my backbone was there. I hoped that a Wall Street banker in an expensive suit would sit next to the bag of fortunes after I departed.
It rained in New York yesterday. I didn’t carry an umbrella because when I left Brooklyn, the rain was merely a mist. I strolled in comfort, hatless, down 15th Street realizing that the rain would possibly wash the green mark from my back. Fortunately, my coat is green and old, and the wet paint from the steel subway beams would likely blend with my coat perfectly.
The warmth and dryness of the store that I entered was a refreshing. I made the trip into the city to purchase more yarn for the Christmas gifts I’ve been crocheting. The coziness of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio was a welcome relief to my aching bones as I searched the shelves for “Vanna’s Choice” rust colored yarn. A store clerk approached me to ask if he could be of assistance.
“I’m looking for rust,” I explained, returning a ream of ‘brick’ to the colorful wall of acrylic yarns.
The queen quickly grabbed several shades of orangish-brown treads, realizing, like me, that there appeared to be no shade of rust on the shelves.
“Are you sure the color is rust?” He asked.
“Yes. I’m sure. I am certain that I bought the color here, although, the art store at Pratt Institute sells Lion Brand yarn and I may have purchased it there.”
“Let me try our database,” he lisped.
I quickly grabbed more purple yarn and an extra ream of black. Suddenly I wished that I had selected the brick shade to make my father’s scarf. I picked up the ball of yarn and realized that the shade was labeled ‘rust’. It was like finding a fortune inside a cookie.
“We have it in stock,” the clerk informed from behind the counter.
“I found it already,” I shared.
“Will that be all?” The velvety employee asked.
“Would you like to add your name to our customer list,” the clerk flirted.
“No thanks. I get enough e-mail.”
“You don’t have to offer an e-mail address– just your name– in case you lose your receipt and wish to return something.”
“Do you accept ugly Vanna White scarves made in rust?” I asked.
The clerk laughed. “What’s your name?”
“And your last.”
“Is that T-A-Y-L-O-R?”
“No– it’s T-A-I-L-O-R”.
“Do you need a bag?” He asked.
“Of course. It’s raining outside,” I replied, turning my back to walk out the door. I strutted into the downpour of 15th Street as if the wool coat I was wearing was waterproof, revealing the uncommon thread of subway green to those inside the Lion Brand Yarn Studio behind me who must have wondered why I was so shady.
Crochet Directions for my Dad’s Scarf:
HDC in 3rd Ch from end and each Ch across
HDC in first HDC and across
Keep going, changing colors every 30 rows, from rust to black to purple.