Thursday, July 01, 2010

Why Hazmat Suits Should Be Worn on the Subway

Taken at the NY Transit Museum
My morning commute was interrupted by two instance of absolute repulsion. Granted, it is not shocking that a ride on the subway included moments of uncomfortability (foul aromas, howling babies, etc.) but today I was attacked by an entirely new level of WTH! In all my little subway adventures I've never been quite as appauled as I was by the behavior of the two riders who you'll meet below. Prepare yourself. And if you have a weak gag reflex... well, proceed at your own risk.

Let me first explain, for anyone unfamiliar with the subway, that there are two varieties of the A train.

  1. The Long Blue Bench: Seating consists of one long bench that stretches down the length of the train. There are no raised divisions (keeping butts in place) and you sometimes slide from side-to-side as the train lurches.
  2. The Howard Johnson: Seating on the HJ is made up of yellow and orange (hence the moniker I've assigned it). These seats have raised edges (again, keeping butts in seats). The most significant difference is that the HJ has L-shaped seating areas... a bench with 3 seats rests along the length of the wall and then a bench of 2 seats juts out. Add a table and you could sit down with four close friends for a breakfast of pancakes and OJ.
So, I'm on the HJ this morning, in the 3rd seat of the 3-seat bench and to my right is the 2-seat bench.

To my left, on seat 2 of the 3-seater, is a woman, covered in sweat, layered in tissues, coughing as though she had just swallowed a meatloaf whole. Why didn't I move? Because I was wedged in like one of 64 colors in a Crayola box and there was no hope of escape until the train thinned out some.

To my right, on the aisle seat of the 2-seater L shaped bench, was a sharply dressed woman with her Bloomingdale's bag tucked between her feet. She was elegantly put together so I felt a little better that maybe the universe was balancing out my plight of sitting next to Typhoid Mary by pairing her with this Lady Who Lunches.

Sadly, the elegance faded quickly.

Out of the corner of my eye I spy the LWL, fiddling with her hands. There was a sense of nervousness coming from her and, for a moment, I assumed she was afraid of getting tuberculosis from TM on my left. But as she continued fiddling it began to make me nervous and so I looked over to better see what the situation was. This was not a simple case of thumb twiddling. The LWL was peeling away dead pieces of skin from her hands and flicking those remnants directly onto my slacks.

(Insert immediate anxiety attack here.)

I bolted up out of my seat and apologetically pushed my way through the sardine crowd pressing myself against the door in the agonizing hope that the metal passage would split and let me escape the horror of the LWL with the zombie-like skin disorder.

Now I probably have typhoid, tuberculosis and some strain of flesh-eating bacteria. It's a nightmare. Someone send me a hazmat suit stat!

1 comment:

w_layne_h said...

i think i would have died...