Coverage of me and other train wrecks: my mama, subway nut jobs, sex and the environment.


Stink Bomb Terror

What is it with idiots and their toilet water? Fuck. I understand that it’s summer and people get hot and sweaty. Fine. Wear deodorant! That’s all you need. But no, men and women alike soak themselves in perfumes and colognes and eau de drag queen to the point that they fill the train cars with their scents. This is not attractive!!! There’s nothing appealing about someone who smells like a Calvin Klein brand, and I’m sorry if that bottle cost you 50 bucks—you should’ve invested in some patchouli oil instead.

Actually it’s not a fear of stinkage that’s motivating the perfumania—the real motivator is a desperate need for attention. These folks need their presence felt. They, like canines and felines, want to put their mark on the world without care for the offense it may provoke.

The worst thing is that excessive scenting is now a trend among males looking to get laid. Axe body spray has put out a strong campaign to convince hetero males that if they smell like dollar store potpourri they’ll attract more women. What kind of women, exactly? Dollar store women, perhaps. I normally dismiss the power of advertising except that most of the younger men at my gym are now using Axe body sprays. That’s right—they shower with scented soap, they lather up their hair with scented shampoos, they wear musky deodorants, and then, after all that, they spray on this crap and of course it fills the air around them to the point that you can’t breathe. Some of the older men in the locker room will start coughing. These same scent-bombers then get on the train where, encapsulated, their scents grow and mix with everyone else’s perfume, resulting (in me) in one mind blowing case of the pukes. Okay, I don’t literally throw up, but I DO get nauseous and sometimes even get a headache. Can I sue?!

It's one thing to keep yourself from smelling like mold and crotch sweat, it's quite another to choke the people around you with tentacles of artificially scented sprays. I mean, really, that's my gripe: that all these perfumes smell artificial. If people used NATURAL oils like they did a century and a half ago, it'd all be fine. Natural Oil scents are never super strong and they fade throughout the day. And they don't smell toxic. Tonight, after I ask G-d to demand a ceasefire from Israel, I'm asking for the artificial aroma industry to go out of business. Amen.


The Happiest Couple in the Milky Way

The mass of sun-warmed summer bodies sweating and the ill(and thus puttering) air conditioner made the air on the F train last night sticky and hot.

I stood in front of a sitting couple—a man and a woman, both in their 50’s, arm in arm. As they chatted, they grinned with the giddiness of high school sweethearts, but they’d been married long enough to fill their conversations with stories about grandchildren in South Carolina.

It was hot. The man’s scalp glistened beneath his thinning hairs. The woman’s face was dotted with beads of sweat. The smell of berries on the brink of ripening and damp bark came up from their bodies.

With a folded paper napkin the man dabbed the sweat from his wife. He traced her hairline, gently patting down across her glistening cheeks and then dabbed her moist nose. Here he paused and considered how best to dry her chin; he leaned towards her to get a better look, I thought, but really was looking into her eyes as he touched the napkin to her chin. He slid it down her warm neck and then descended further, stopping right above her bosom. They poured mischievous smiles into each other’s hazel eyes, the way lovers do after a naked kiss.

I grinned from the tenderly erotic journey of the napkin and the man caught me looking. He turned to me and grinned right back.


The Rain Outside the Train

About to exit the subway in the morning rush and head to work, climbing up the stairs in a too too sleepy haze I was snapped awake by a crack of thunder and the sudden stop of the foot traffic as the herd of commuters reached the stairs. Pouring rain had descended upon New York City and what looked like a Banana Republic model was unfurling her obese umbrella on the stairwell more concerned about a dribble of rain ruining her face than about the mass of humans behind her waiting for her to move so they could get out. She was a tiny little thing but her umbrella was one of those “protect your entire village” kinds—the kinds that, flipped upside down, could be employed by my family in Cuba to sail the current toward freedom.

The Betch! She almost poked out the eyes of the folks behind her with that parasol.

And she wasn’t the only inconsiderate jerk. Oh no. Plenty of dry clean only men and women followed her lead and hogged the stairwell with their monstrous rain shields. Doesn’t anybody carry a compact umbrella anymore? Do these fools own Hummers?

Of course I didn’t have an umbrella with me and of course I happened to take the train that lets me out furthest from my job so I had blocks and blocks of downpour to negotiate by the time I made it out of the subway stairwell.

Here I sit, dripping at my office computer, freezing from the global warming inducing air conditioning, worried about my excessive use of gerunds, and barefoot because my socks and shoes are drying on the window sill. Shit, I feel like God’s bedpan.


Bang Bang Choo Choo Train

The subway doors opened and it took me a second to realize I had to get out. When I started exiting the train car, a short middle-aged man waiting to get on board shoved himself on and I ran into him. Well, into his giant backpack, actually, at which point I said excuse me. I wanted to say wait for me to get the fuck off you bastard, but my Methodist upbringing got in the way. Plus there was a crowd of patient and polite people also waiting to get on, all of whom waited for me to exit before proceeding.

As I walked away, I heard Mr. Backpack exclaim “maricón!” I turned, he stared. The doors were still open, I could go back in the train and have it out with him, but I didn’t. I'm too holier-than-thou for that.

Was he calling me maricón (="faggot") because he thought I was gay or just as a general insult? I mean either way it was meant to offend. It just happens to be one of those insults that Hispanic men throw around in all kinds of contexts. Sometimes they’re serious and angry, sometimes they’re joking around with friends (the American equivalent of that would be calling a frat friend “pussy”), and they use it to derogatorily indicate a man is effeminate. The offense was doubled because I AM gay, so I got angrier and angrier as I repeated the scene in my head.

In the boiling moments right after the train doors closed behind me I remembered why it is that I think everyday citizens should not own guns. I wanted to shoot him in the nuts and blow off his kneecaps and pour a vinaigrette all over the wounds.

The thing about New York breeder assholes (I’ve never been assaulted or insulted by a queen on the streets of NYC; so most male jerks up and about are heteros) the thing about them is that they’re so crazy , if you call them out on their shit you never know what you’re gonna get. They might turn and attack you, speaking from experience. So I just walked on, fuming, wishing for a gun, thanking my lucky stars I don’t carry around a butcher knife or that guy would’ve lost a couple of intestinal inches and I'd be repaying my grad school loans from a Reiker's Island zip code.