Train Pain


Sometimes taking the subway is just part of an average Tuesday. Today it was herculean struggle for survival.

I get on the train at my usual stop. Slightly more crowded than usual, but nothing I haven’t seen before.

Unfortunately, I am standing VERY close to a man with very bad breath. My fl, what did you eat for breakfast….LAST TUESDAY?  His hand, which is above mine on the steadying pole, keeps accidentally touching mine. I’m sure you’re a nice dude, but that coffee mug (filled with vomit) you’re holding says it all.

I begin to become woozy from the scent that surely would chase the flies off Mt. Fecal.  Trying to steady myself, we reach our next stop and a DELUGE of people get on.

Suddenly, I feel as though I’ve fallen prey to a boa constrictor.  The people around me have wrapped me in their clutches and are squeezing me tighter and tighter until I run out of already fouled air and die.

I am now wedged in the dead center of the train. On the left, we have my pal with Nightmare on Elm Street breath. To the right, I have been pressed against a man who is James Browning through his salmon-pink button down shirt. Sweat which I can feel on my bare arm.

In front of me, is the tallest woman I have ever seen; clad in an all-black, floor length ensemble as though she is about to strut down a Gothic runway. Her pasty lobes and dainty wrists are adorned with large, silver bangles, which blind all around her except for herself.  Naturally, she has on sunglasses.

Why does anyone would wear sunglasses on the subway. I’m always oddly tempted to cry out, “Honey! Don’t you realize we are under the ground?! You don’t look cool, you look like the animated version of a mole!”

(…See below for reference)

Anyhow, this incredibly tall woman is leering down at me like the angel of death come to end my life on this crowded, suffocatingly hot subway. I am growing more woozy and trying not to panic. MUST NOT BE GIRL WHO PASSES OUT ON TRAIN.  I feel short of breath.

But as I’m attempting to calm myself down, the door opens and even MORE people shove their way on. A small Asian woman is crammed in behind me and acts very irritated by the enormity of my purse.  She punishes me for it by elbowing me in the ribs and nudging me even closer to Mr. Sweatstorm, who at this point is simply going to look like a piece of slimy sushi by the time he arrives to work.

Inexplicably, the N train then slows to an absolute crawl, and I legitimately start to visualize my death. I attempt to breathe deeply, but no matter how hard I try, I inevitably get a whiff of the noxious odor coming from Barf Breath’s mouth. When I breathe deeply, my lungs expand, causing my purse to shift and Small Asian Woman to elbow me in the ribs. This in turn pushes me to the right and leaves my arm slickened from Mr. Sweaty McSweatface.

Finally, FINALLY my stop arrives, and I practically shove my way out of the car. I feel some small sense of triumph for having survived, as though I have just single-handedly fought my way out of a burning building (the fumes, heat, and lack of oxygen are certainly comparable.)

And yet, all I have done is succeeded to make it to work. I have fought an unspoken battle  my coworkers will never know of. To them, it is merely Tuesday morning, and I am just the receptionist. But to me, I am the doomsday survivor.


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