In Light Of Having Nothing Constructive To Say About The State Of The Union Address Other Than “WTF?”
This morning I was late for work (surprising) so when I got to the subway station and heard that a train was coming in, I ran down the stairs, through the turnstile and, to my surprise, saw that the subway car right in front of me was practically empty. My station is usually so crowded at rush hour that when a train rolls up you see the faces of the people inside the car pressed up against the windows like a cartoon. I was pleased as I jogged, seemingly in slow motion, onto the car surreally desolate train.
I quickly realized two things: that the reason the subway car was almost empty was because there was a homeless man asleep on one of the benches, and that the reason I felt like I was moving in slow motion upon entering the train was because the crippling stench coming from the homeless man had stunned me. My knees buckled as the doors closed behind me.
You know those movies where someone is trapped in a booby-trapped room that is filling up with water? Now I know what that feels like. Only instead of water, it was the odor of rotting evil. There’s no real concrete way to describe to you what this smell was, unless maybe I grabbed you by the back of the head and forced your face into a spackle bucket full of crap. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement – it was overwhelming in the way that a gunshot to the face is overwhelming.
I got as far away as I could from the source of the smell, avoiding any attempts at keeping my composure. I tried to pass wind to cover the stench. I couldn’t. My body was shutting down. The few other people on the train gave me looks that said, “I’ve been here since 125th St. – I’m too weak to escape. Save yourself!” The one man sitting down, reading his paper like nothing was happening around him was the sole anomaly. I can only assume that he lost his sense of smell in the War.
30 seconds in I was clawing at the doors, beginning to hallucinate. My thoughts came like lines from Finnegan’s Wake. I had to keep myself focused on the singular goal of getting off the train and the only thing standing in my way of that goal was dying before 68th St. Finally we roll into the station and as the train is slowing to a stop I ready myself along with a few people around me. There was one elderly woman standing to my right who, instead of grasping her purse and tightening her headscarf for the escape, sat down in the empty seat in front of her and sighed. The look on my face must have been curious because she then says to me, “Oh it’s not that bad. I’m used to this.”
Right then the doors opened and I rushed out, taking a huge breath of air, which is saying something considering I was still in an underground subway station. I turned, looked at the elderly woman and, like Rose letting go of Jack, watched the doors close and the train roll away. When I got to work I scoured the internet for news reports of subway lines shut down while a dead body was removed from a number 6 train, but I found nothing. I only hope that the old woman made it where she was going. Unless where she was going was heaven. Because you’d have to be crazy to try to take the 6 train to heaven; and everyone knows crazy people don’t go to heaven.