Archive for January, 2007

The Righteous Never Rest

January 19, 2007

There’s a man I see about every other morning on my way to work. He’s always in the same spot–in the bowels of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, right in front of the subway turnstiles.

He’s black, in his mid-30’s (I guess), and he’s a preacher. He stands in his spot, waves his well-worn Bible, and barks out The Word. He’s loud, and when the dynamics of the crowd force me to pass directly in front of him, I get the gospel in headache-inducing doses. Despite his stentorian delivery, I can never really recall exactly what he says. His feverish spiel seamlessly merges with the rattle of approaching subway trains.

I have no idea how long he stands there, preaching to an indifferent blur of humanity, but by the time I come home at the end of the day, he’s gone.

Except for one day last week.

Before boarding my evening bus home, I zipped into the Port Authority men’s room (which is, mercifully, no longer the outpost of Sodom and Gomorrah it once was). As I entered the tiled menagerie, I heard a man’s voice speaking at high volumes. This, believe it or not, is not exactly an unusual occurrence in the Port Authority men’s room, so I ignored it and approached the wall of urinals. As I did, I noticed–lying on the floor, protruding from a closed stall door–the familiar, well-worn Bible belonging to The Preacher.

He was behind the stall door, howling on about salvation. I was impressed by his dedication. He was not going to let a little biological function interfere with his mission. I can’t think of too many men of the cloth who would forge on, undeterred, under similar circumstances. (Or maybe I just don’t want to.)

I didn’t stick around to hear the conclusion of the sermon from porcelain pulpit (The Preacher’s aroma was becoming as powerful as his oration), but the memory will forever be etched in my brain.

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