Somehow we’ve gotten everything on my list done in time to take the subway home. I’m torn between feeling satisfied by the efficiency and feeling lame because we’ll be in bed before one am. I’m also drunk. Breakfast was a long time ago, women have a lower alcohol tolerance than men (they’ve done scientific studies), and I’ve been keeping up with Matt drink-for-drink. He suggests we get coffee on the way to the train station. I state my preference for and receive chai. As soon as all that caffeine and sugar hits my system I go from docile and toasted to highly energetic and rambunctious.
I’m blaming the lack of photos in this post on the fact that I got drunk and forgot to keep posing for them.
There is a very long escalator leading from street level down to the subway platform. Standing in front of me is a woman with a furry pink scarf. She’s absorbed in a conversation with the woman on the step below her. I’m staring at the scarf trying to figure out if I can pet it without her noticing. It looks really soft and I wanted to pet
kittens earlier in the day and didn’t have the chance. The scarf is on top of her hair, which is on top of her winter coat. She’s probably wearing at least a shirt, if not an undershirt as well. There are so many layers between the scarf and her skin that she’d have to be like the girl from The Princess and the Pea to feel anything. I must have some facial expression that conveys the mischief going on in my brain, because Matt leans over and asks what I’m up to.
My hand reaches out to touch the pink fur, letting him know that I am in fact totally up to something. Up to something really weird that he’s going to have a hard time talking our way out of if I get caught. He gently slaps my hand down and reminds me that we’re in a foreign country. He’s distracted by trying to formulate a convincing argument against touching this stranger. We’re getting close to the end of the escalator and I’m running out of time. My right arm is trapped, constrained by Matt’s hand and what I’m currently perceiving as his spoilsport streak, but my left arm is gloriously free. Very gently I reach over and stroke this woman’s fuzzy cold-weather accessory with my index finger.
“Yes! What? I think it’s healthy to indulge my bizarre compulsions. It was harmless. She’ll never know.”
… and she never would have known, were it not for her friend who was standing behind us watching the whole scene unfold.
In my defense, groping people on public transportation is practically tradition. It happens so often in Japan that they have special pink cars reserved for women during the crowded morning rush, when most gropers supposedly strike. There’s enough of a market for train groping fantasies that Tokyo has multiple brothels with fake train cars where the prostitutes act like innocent commuters. They have a Groping Prevention Week. Before you suggest that I should have brought a furry scarf to a prostitute, let me remind you that the really exciting parts of the red light districts are off limits to me because of my race and gender.
I now feel like I’ve experienced illicit groping from both sides, as the gropee and the groper. As the groper, I kind of feel like a jerk. Feel free to tell me how much of a jerk you think I am at the Fleshbot Awards tonight. All Twitter verifications of jerk status will be ignored.