Then there was the guy in the astrakhan hat — Russian? Kazhakstani? Azerbaijani (sp)? — who had obviously never used a Metrocard before. He kept swiping it in the opposite direction. I tried to explain to him how to do it, but he didn’t understnad me, so I just went ahead and went through the tunstile myself — but lo! he had slipped in directly behind me, and I screamed, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? — and he said — holding up the card, “CARRRD NO GOOOD!” I was freaked by his proximity and kind of kept screaming “Get away from me!” once on the other side of the turnstile, where his female companion — wife? cousin? friend? — started scolding him heartily in what sounded to me like Russian.

After all was said and done, I wanted his astrakhan hat.

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