I made a mortal mistake yesterday. It’s one of those things that every New Yorker is aware of, and only non-knowing amateurs stumble into. Being a seasoned NYC inhabitant I just don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was a moment of blissful ignorance as I was heading home from work with my earbuds in and rocking out to my favorite tunes. Perhaps I just had a brain fart and didn’t realize until it was too late. I did the one thing we all know never to do.
I walked into an empty subway car on the way home from work yesterday.
I should have immediately recognized the tell-tale warning signs. Rush hour crowds on the platform. The crowded subway cars rolling by as the train pulled in. The two adjoined cars before and after it filled with commuters. Whatever made me enter that empty subway car is beyond me, but I did stupidly do it in a blindly bad moment of decision-making. What’s worse is that I did not even realize what I had done before it was too late and the doors closed right behind me. I was oblivious to those entering and running out as if they were getting attacked by a swarm of hornets. As soon as that disgustingly pungent stomach turning aroma hit me I knew I was in a heap of trouble. Yet, escape was not an option. It was too late.
Here I was trapped in an empty subway car with a strange-looking guy sleeping on one of the benches, and across from him on the other bench was a sight that no man, woman, or child should ever be exposed to. Across from him on the other bench was the most God awful smelly hunk of human excrement I have ever encountered. No, it wasn’t just a pile, it was spread out and smeared over at least three to four feet of seating. All over the place. Everywhere. There was nothing I could do to halt the revolting odor from seeping into my nose, my brain, my clothes, my soul. No wonder everyone else avoided this car. It was literally a “shit show”.
Holy hell in a handbasket what did I just get myself into?
As instinct, and nausea, kicked in I quickly moved to the far side away from this scene. Hoping that we could quickly get to the next stop so I could escape into fresh air I was suddenly terrified at the train conductor’s announcement. “Due to train traffic ahead of us we are experiencing delays. Please be patient.” Are you effing kidding me? Why now? Why me? This is torture! I thought about transferring between the cars as the train was moving through the end door, but of course it was the one that does not open, and is sealed shut. I could view the overly crowded car next door and longingly wished I was in there with them no matter how congested it was. I’d rather stand with people up my ass and be grinded against in fresher smelling air over the abomination that was happening in this car.
Finally, the train started moving forward at a normal pace and rolled into the next station where I dived out as soon as the door opened. As I leaned against the wall gulping in clean oxygen I watched as others ran in and out of that subway car. As a few brave souls entered and stayed inside with the doors closing I wondered what drove them to accept that fate. Madness? Just not caring? Too impatient to wait for the next train? Maybe they like that smell? Ewww…….
All I know is this – never, ever, get in an empty NYC subway car. Unless you can quickly tell by sight and smell that the coast is clear. Enter at your own risk. A NYC Lesson learned. I also think I will never sit down in a NYC subway car again. I’ll stand, thank you.
Damn, that smell is still in my nose days later.