I went to the gym this morning and opted for NY 1 on the TV while I did my quasi-elliptical (no arms on this one) machine for 40 minutes. I usually watch CNN and last week ESPN because they were showing the Wimbledon games but Wimbledon’s over and I’m sick of hearing in-depth discussion of what new nonsense our commander-in-chief has to spew. So it was NY 1 today.
Pat Kiernan was doing his “in the papers” segment, and every time I see that it makes me think of when I was a kid there was a newspaper strike where somebody, I forget if it was Sonny Fox or Chuck McCann read the Sunday comics on the air. Now that was a real public service- I really needed to know what Lil’ Abner was up to despite union politics.
But there’s no strike and the only advantage to listening to Pat Kiernan’s in the papers is that I don’t have to buy a half dozen papers and slog through a bunch of articles (and advertisements) I have no interest in to get the pertinent news of the day.
The one thing that caught my eye (or ear, rather) today was MTA chairman’s declaration that food on the subway is one of the causes of track fires like the one that paralyzed the A, C, B, and D trains Monday morning. Not the actual food itself, mind you- but the food packaging that ends up on the tracks. And on the floors of subway cars, on the seats, and yes, sometimes even on you with a good subway swing or jolt.
Watch out for hot coffee!
This has always been a pet peeve of mine, I once saw a guy eating an oxtail stew (with lots of yellow rice) and watched as he spit each little bit of oxtail bone on to the floor after sucking it dry. Not a qualm in the world about what anyone else thought about it.
There are plenty of slobs on the subway, and I’ve seen people finish their meal and casually toss the plastic bag, Styrofoam plate, and whatever else (napkins, plastic utensils) under their seat after they are done. Sure, some people take their garbage with them, but what about the smell? I think the smell is even grosser than watching the people eat. As one guy on NY 1 put it today (Yes, they did a companion piece) “Goat curry! It smells like armpits…”
Well, goat curry may smell like goat curry and be the most delicious thing in the world (quite good, I’ve had it) but in the confines of a crowded subway car it does resemble an intense armpit smell, as would just about any fast food take-out hot mess would smell mixed with the odor of various colognes, perfumes, musk oils, and yes, actual armpit smells. And whatever other miasma might be floating around. I don’t know how people do it, I can’t.
Of course some of the people doing shit like that are just waiting for someone to say something- they are ready for it, they are looking for trouble. You never know when the son of Bernie Goetz might be enjoying that goat curry next to you.
So I keep my mouth shut. I move away if I can.
But it’s hard to move on really crowded trains. Haven’t each of us had the experience of some guy getting on and raising his arm for the handrail and you are treated a whiff of week-old BO? Danusia and me had to endure a whole flight from Arizona to New York with an overweight man with week old BO sitting next to us once.
Well, the MTA can’t force people to shower, but they can sure give people tickets for eating and drinking on the subway. I’m all for that. A round of applause for Chairman Joe Lhota!
When he ran the subways in 2011 service improved visibly, and I hope it improves again.
The subway is the subway, and it’s there for us to be able to get from one place to the next. I know some people’s lives are so incredibly full that the only time they get a chance to eat is when they are on their way from one important event to the other, but we do adapt. I think if it cost you $200 a table to eat on the subway people would certainly find a cheaper table somewhere else. Make that $500! I don’t care. I got a ticket once for moving from one car to the other. If they can find cops to ticket you for that, I’m sure they can hand out tickets for eating (and drinking!) on the subway.
There is absolutely no reason to wait till you get off the subway to enjoy your meal. It’s not like you’re stuck on the train for three or four hours. Well, sometimes, judging from a few recent subway debacles. But we can all make it through without a full meal. Or a big gulp, Venti, or 40 of your favorite malt liquor.
I once saw this guy on a crowded M train over the Williamsburg bridge throw up into the armhole of his jacket. The puke made its way down his sleeve and out into the lap of the woman seated next to him, then of course it ended up on the floor. I think that’s the grossest thing I’ve ever seen on a subway ride, but the smell of a BBQ rib dinner can be a close second.