Ahmusings

The 98% humorous musings of M. Lizabeth Currain

Tag: D train

Subway Gross Out

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.ย  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.

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.

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