Subway Gross Out

by M. Lizabeth Currain

I’m back after my hiatus. I got a little distracted, but I am back for the New Year, hopefully more often, hoping that this blog will really take off and have more than 3 readers. I moved to a new apartment before Christmas. I now live in Manhattan proper…well, I don’t know how proper Washington Heights is, but it’s a Manhattan address. I miss Brooklyn and my bodega, but I’m sure that I will soon fine something comparable here.

Now, on to the subject at hand. The subway. Now, I’ve ridden my few share of subway lines. When I was up in the Bronx, I took the 2 or the 5 train–bright and usually clean. When I lived in Brooklyn, I either took the D or the R train. They weren’t overly bright or all that clean. The D train was always packed during rush hour, but the R train I could always find a seat–plus the people that lived along where the R-train stopped, seemed to be more attractive. Now I take the A train every day. The A train is dingy like the D and the R and it has a diverse ridership.

The cleanliness of the train really isn’t the issue here–it’s the people riding the subway that are grossing me out. You know how sometimes you are in a place that has lots of people and you focus on one or two people because they have some sort of nervous tick, crossed eyes, or hair plugs? Well this is how I feel on the subway every day. I feel like there is always some on there, that my attention gets focused on. Sometimes it’s funny/uncomfortable; like the lady on Christmas eve, who was taking off her close while singing Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know“. It was actually more uncomfortable because she was obviously cray-cray, and that meant that I had to stifle my laughter and not look at her for fear that she would cut me. Other times you can make a connection with another subway rider who recognizes the ridiculousness that is taking place–like the time there were two voguing gay t’weens being obnoxious on the train. I love my gays and I love the voguing, but those two were dressed so brightly and screeching so loud it was harming my senses. But if you ever get the chance, go to the Christopher Street Piers and check out the voguing…occasionally there is a battle, and it’s awesome.

I’m getting sidetracked again. I’ve been on plenty of trains with gross people. It’s always gag-inducing when someone is clearing their throat and hocking up phlegm while they are sitting next to you, or picking their nose, or clipping their nails. Yes, clipping their nails. Why someone would do that on the train, is really beyond me. I should not be subjected to a stranger’s dirty nail clippings flying in my direction. It’s almost as if people don’t know any better.

Yesterday’s train ride home is really what triggered this post. So the train was packed because it was rush hour and a few stops into the ride this girl, who was probably around my age, or slightly younger got on the train. She was reading The Alchemist–that point really has nothing to do with anything, just so you know. She looked like your typical winter hipster; boots, stupid winter hat, wool coat, etc. She had to stand and hold on to one of the bars because there was no place to sit. She looked fairly normal, except that her hands were a little dirty. Which is fine, it happens–but she kept touching her face. Every few minutes she would keep touching her face in the same pattern–the forehead, the cheeks, the nostrils, and then the chin. EVERY FEW MINUTES. Then she would go back to holding on to the bar. Thousands of people touch that bar…and your hands are already dirty…and you’re rubbing them all over your face. She probably had some form of OCD, but it was seriously making throw-up a little in my mouth.

On top of being transfixed on this hipster girl’s gross OCD, there was this little girl who was standing next to me, holding on to the bar that I was holding on to. Her hand kept slipping and touching mine, which I could have overlooked, had she NOT BEEN STICKING HER FINGERS IN HER MOUTH! That is disgusting. You are basically sticking like 100o other fingers in your mouth too. I hope her parents get her tested. I’m surprised I didn’t throw up on that little girl, she was grossing me out so much. Her parent’s didn’t even tell her to get her fingers out of her mouth or anything. They should probably be reported to child protective services.  It sort of reminded me of the episode of the Simpson’s where Homer has to go to NYC to get his car back and Bart is on the subway panhandling and licks the subway pole. I would link you to a clip, but YouTube is lacking.

I hope I don’t do anything gross on the subway that makes people want to throw up. I know I do some stuff that turns guys on and makes them follow me off the train in the dead of night. Chapstick really gets a guy worked up. Too bad he wasn’t cute. Ha! I laugh about it now, but at the time it was frightening and also shows that I sort of have no regard for my personal safety by allowing him to actually talk to me. I need help.