An Amish girl got hit in the face with a breakfast sandwich in Brooklyn. It was life changing.
Updated: Sep 9
I saw two Amish girls on the subway today. They were eighteen or so, wearing windsocks on their heads, orthopedic shoes on their feet, and looking on with the same glow Charlie displayed as he toured the factory.
Melancholy bodies shuffled onto the subway, as I competed for space to grab the handrail. The girls loved it. They stood when the train took off, and would fall into the people around them, laughing harder than someone who found a mouse in the butter churner.
Then someone threw a breakfast sandwich at them.
The bagel hit one girl square in the grill, and yolk streamed down her face. For that brief moment – amidst the stressful commute, the deadlines on everyone’s minds, and the vague fear of what that trash bag-cladded lady sitting in the corner of the train would do – we laughed at those little Amish girls, and our problems didn’t seem to matter.
When all you know is farming and blanket parties, a train full of people isn’t an inconvenience. It’s a modern marvel of technology.
When your wardrobe is confined to the thrift stores of Civil War-era Pennsylvania, that lady wearing a trash bag looks exotic, and when you didn’t have after-school cartoons to guide your moral compass, you seem to think it is okay to trust fall into strangers on the train.
I learned a lot seeing that child get hit in the face with turkey bacon. We take so much for granted. Aspects of our lives that we find commonplace are extraordinary, and beauty can be found in every interaction.
It’s easy to forget the creative spirit of Brooklyn when you’re concentrating on the trash that floods the sidewalks.
Everywhere I look, it seems people dressed themselves in the same consignment store, and that consignment store was only open during the dead of night, but they’re a “green” store so they don’t use the lights, as to save power, AND because it’s one of those secret “popup” stores that everyone talks about, which means it is actually illegal, they had to get in, and get out lickity-split.
There is something alluring about that!
It looks like some people didn’t get to that sale in time, so they cut up their grandma’s old couch and made a jacket out of it.
And only perception can determine if you think that is wonderful, really fucking weird, or both.
Seeing a Mennonite get sandwich slapped helps to remind me of the privileges I have been afforded. The negative aspects of life – debt, bad relationships, politics, etc. – orbit the thought process, regularly returning to internal dialogues. It’s a constant buzzing in my ear, but the breathtaking beauty of nature and technology falls into the background unnoticed.
I don’t like that the girls’ first introduction to New York bodegas was an eye full of sesame seeds. It’s a bummer that’s how they learned the world outside of their home’s buggy-radius doesn’t care about them. It was one of those rare moments when you could watch someone’s innocence dissipate immediately.
Extreme emotions, in either direction put problems in perspective. I had been mad that the bodega was out of coffee, and now all I could think of was that at least I didn’t get hit in the face with a breakfast sandwich. That made me smile.
I don’t know if I took the right lessons away, and I definitely should have helped the girls, but I was too busy writing this on my phone. As cliché as it sounds, count your blessings. Be mindful of the innumerable positive aspects of your life. Whether you want to believe it or not, the positives do outnumber the negatives. It’s just about perspective!