SUBWAY SIDESHOW

Every morning I take the New York underground transit system (affectionately know as ‘the subway’) from Far Rockaway to my job in Manhattan and back home each evening – a total of three hours round trip. That’s a long time to stare at the weirdos on the train. 

Riding the subway for as long as I do, it’s easy to become familiar with my fellow passenger’s quirks and foibles – even assigning them made up names to go with their peccadilloes. And let me tell you – people are strange! 

Far Rockaway is where the commute originates so I’m always guaranteed a seat. A couple I call Marge and Homer get on the same train. I have determined from their heated conversations that they have been engaged for about six years. Marge is ready to get married; Homer’s not. She talks about her biological clock; he talks about nothing but his possible promotion at work. Then Marge reminds Homer he’s been saying the same thing for five years now and their discussion becomes more heated with every chug of the subway.

First stop: enter Malodorous Man. This guy is always guaranteed a seat in the corner all by himself. The fact that he desperately needs a shower would be enough to keep people away but he also brings his breakfast on the train – a raw onion which he peels and eats with gusto as one would an apple. 

At our next stop Mr. Obsessive gets on and immediately takes out a can of disinfectant and sprays it in the direction of Malodorous Man who indignantly shouts “Hey, I’m eatin’ here!”. 

Mr. Obsessive goes to HIS seat (which no one sits on because everyone knows it’s HIS), cleans it and begins his routine. First he unties his shoe laces making sure they are of equal length. Satisfied that they are, he reties his laces, then adjusts his socks so they reach the exact same height on both legs. He smooths his trousers, unbuttons and re-buttons his jacket, aligns the amount of shirt cuff visible from his jacket sleeves, straightens his tie and adjusts his hat repeatedly. Finally all is well in OCD Land

At stop number three Malodorous Man departs and the Tattoo Twins get on, a teenage boy and girl covered from the neck down with multicolored tattoos. They lean against the door and start making out while MrObsessive huffs in disapproval. 

Totally out of character Marge suddenly declares that she’s “had enough” and moves to another seat next to Bob the Builder, a good-looking construction worker. Homers not happy about this; perhaps he’s noticed the same thing I have: whenever Bob the Builder enters the train he winks at Marge and pats his impressive tool belt. Bob and Marge begin a quiet conversation while Homer fumes. 

Next stop and Mr. Obsessive fearfully walks past the Tattoo Twins who reach out and knock his perfect hat right off his head. Shocked by this unnecessary assault, Mr. Obsessive stares at the now unwearable hat and scurries off the train. 

Impulsively, a jilted Homer jumps up and punches Tattoo Boy in the nose who retaliates by shoving Homer backwards on his ass. A few passengers give Homer a thumbs up. Somewhat embarrassed yet proud of himself, Homer glances over at Marge for her approval. She, however, is too involved with Bob the Builder to notice. Homer tells Marge “it’s our stop” but she shakes her head and snuggles closer to BobHomer huffs off and looks back just as Marge fondles the tip of Bob’s hammer. 

Welcome to the daily subway sideshow where everyone’s a weirdo except me – or am I? 

NAR © 2019

#FOWCtransit

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