Ahmusings

The 98% humorous musings of M. Lizabeth Currain

Tag: 6 train

Be Weary

This is a cautionary tale of the subways and the subway stations–and possibly any sort of place where homeless people in NYC might dwell or stop by; like Barnes and Noble in Union Square. Seriously, I think a few might live in there.

Last night; after a delightful dinner at a Thai restaurant with Victor; I was waiting for the D train at Bryant Park. I was sitting on one of those benches reading, when this homeless man (I’m assuming this because of his lack of hygiene, dirty attire, and massive amounts of possessions in plastic bags) comes bounding over and sits next to me. He had this giant black puffy coat that he was carrying and it invaded my personal space–I felt as though he was sitting on me, which is uncomfortable, given his smell. The B train had just pulled up and he was asking me how to get to Dekalb Avenue in Brooklyn. I was trying not to look at him, as I told you before, I know better than to make eye contact with the cray-crays. He smelled something awful and then started shouting to the subway conductor (is that even the correct term?) about how he needs to get to Dekalb Ave. So the conductor said, “well you better get on this train”, then smelly homeless man said something along the lines of, “aw, shit.” grabbed his plastic bag belongings and jogged towards the remaining open door. As he was doing this, I made the mistake of looking. And that’s when I saw it: his ass. His dirty, homeless ass. I don’t say this to be crude or malicious–but to be descriptive, to paint a picture for you, my dear readers. I want to you experience things as I have experienced things. You all must suffer with me.

This is not the first time that I have seen dirty, homeless ass. Once before I saw it on the downtown 6 train platform at Grand Central. He was sitting on one of those benches, with his pants halfway down his thighs, and he was scratching at his dry, patchy, dirty skin while letting his bare posterior touch the bench. People were willing sitting next to him, which I found somewhat disturbing, because he had some of his body parts out, and Xenu only knows what sort of subway vermin had attached itself to him. I have not sat on a bench on the 6 platform since. I will now, most likely never sit on a bench in on the downtown platform at Bryant Park.

The orange line (B/D/F/V) creates a nice straight (somewhat) line of stations where you don’t want to sit or touch anything. They all stop at 34th st Herald Square, which is gross in general, so I don’t really need to delve further. West 4th always has someone sitting on the stairs or holed up somewhere. My favorite is Broadyway/Lafayette. There is always the same homeless guy, sitting or laying out in the same spot. A few times I’ve thought he was dead. I’ve never really seen him do anything, like get up and walk around. He smell is permanently wafting along the platform. It’s always entertaining to see the people who want to see down, but the only seat left is sort of next to him, or behind him. His head is always tilted back, so he usually takes up about 4 available seats. I’ve seen his head actually touch the hair of some girls. I don’t think you can understand how skeeved out, I get from just seeing that. Days/weeks/months of grime are living in his hair. On a particularly hot, humid, smelly day I thought I was going to throw up in my mouth because every time a train would go by, his smell would fly all up in my nostrils.

Also, once in May of 2007, I was getting off the shuttle train at Times Square (the most heinous place on Earth), well, as I was stepping off the shuttle, I see a man with one hand up on the side of the subway car with his head down. I was a little out of sorts, because I had been up for over a day finishing a project, and I was like, “ugh, is this guy sick or something?” So I look down to what he is looking at. It was his PENIS. He was peeing on the subway car. From what I remember, his peen was small and diseased looking, he might have had an enlarged prostate–as he seemed to be having trouble relieving himself–and totally ruined the rest of my day. It almost made me cry, seriously.

I hope the next time any of you are in one of the places that I have mentioned, that you remember this cautionary blog post. I know, I know, plenty of other people sit or touch or pee on things all the time, and you can’t control who sat on or touched something before you. But it’s really in your best interest to not sit on a bench in either a Grand Central or Bryant Park subway station. Just trust me on this one.

Strangers.

Every day, I encounter someone interesting, or gross, or weird, or smelly–but occasionally, some of these people have an interesting story to tell. Some have no story to tell you at all. Some ask you for a dollar. And some leave some pee for you to clean up at closing time while their ingrained stench offends your olfactory system. All of this can happen in the span of two days.

Yesterday, Wednesday: On my way to the train yesterday morning, a young girl, somewhat resembling Notorious B.I.G; weird eye included, was shouting on her phone to someone saying that she would call them when she got off the train. Then I hear her shout, “EXCUSE ME!”, so I turn around and she asks me where the subway is. So assume my role as good Samaritan, and tell Biggie Smalls that I’m on my way there now, so she can follow me if she wants. So I start on my way again, and she asks, “can you hold this, while I put on my coat. It’s cold out,” then hands me her purse, her cell phone, and her cell phone case. I must look trusting, because I would not be asking some random girl on the street to hold my purse. Bitches be all cray-cray! So as we are walking, the most conversation we really have is, “it’s so cold!”, because it was–and blustery–and I was ill prepared for such weather. Then, we are about a block away from the subway station, she asks, “Do have a dollar I could borrow?” Borrow?! Really?! Was she planning on getting my information to mail my dollar back to me? I really doubt it. I was like, “Um, I have no money. I’m broke.” I do not give handouts. Especially when I am in need of a handout of my own. She was less interested in me after that.

To end my day on Wednesday, there was an older homeless (I don’t actually know what his living situation was. Mole person maybe? Crazy, older eccentric? Hygienically challenged, most definitely.) gentlemen who came in to the store. He comes in very rarely, but the last time he came in, he fell asleep on a couch and my coworker had to wake him up–I thought he was dead–and the guy had a giant carbuncle (be thankful this is the image I chose. I threw up in my mouth at least 75 times researching, trying to find one that most resembled what ails this man) on his had. I think my coworker roused him gently by tapping him on the knee, using the very tip of his fingernail, which he then ripped off. Anyways, on Wednesday evening when he came in, to say his odor was offensive is an understatement. Every sense I had was accosted, harmed, DAMAGED. There are really no words that would be able to describe his odor in a way that could make you understand. He smelled worse than Times Square on a hot summer day. And his odor lingered. For an hour after he left. You know why? Because he piddled. Piddled on himself, and our floor. When I find when we were fixing up the store after we closed. Cleaning up hobo urine was not in my job description. I used a mop. Which came in handy for cleaning up my VOMIT. I feel bad for this old guy. I mean his suit is all wrinkled and stained and he ended up paying for a coat he couldn’t afford because I think he felt ashamed. It’s terrible. And I know making fun of a helpless, old man in a blog makes me terrible, but you know what, I feel somewhat justified, because I cleaned up his urine. Which didn’t smell like any urine I’ve ever expelled, which is also another sign of poor health, most likely, but I’m no doctor.

Today, Thursday: I was talking to my work BFF about Jocelyn Wildenstein and how she looks like a lion. I’m not sure how this really got started, but I think it had something to do with my work BFF pulling her face back with her hands and saying “plastic surgery” and from there I lept to Wildenstein–it’s not really that big of a leap, more like a shuffle over a crack in a sidewalk. Well, this middle aged gentleman; who I am assuming is a male gay because I don’t know that many male straights who care about Jocelyn Wildenstein; comes over to me and the conversation is as follows:

Presumed Male Gay: I heard you talking about Jocelyn Wildenstein, but I didn’t hear the last part. What were you saying about her?

Me: Oh, just that she looks like a lion.

PMG: I have a story about her. I was the 6 train going Uptown and she was sitting there reading a magazine. Well she wasn’t really reading it, but was pretending to read while everyone was staring at her. But everyone was staring at her because she had a wrap top on and she had her purse strap going across her chest, and it had moved the top so that her breast was exposed! Everyone was staring, but she didn’t notice. I guess she’s had so much plastic surgery that she couldn’t feel it. But there was a famous actor sitting down and we just looked at each other and were like, “oh my god, what the fuck?!”, it was really crazy!

Me: [laughing politely, would have laughed genuinely if hadn’t tossed in that bit about a “famous actor”] That is crazy!

Pretty soon Jocelyn Wildenstein’s face is going to look like this. If I am going to have nightmares and choke on my own vomit, so is everyone who reads this.

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