Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This isn't the Emerald City

More than a few weeks ago, the weather was blistering cold.  Single-digit temperatures felt sub-zero as wind gusts blew sporadically and freezing rain fell - in short, it was awful.

I am not a big fan of cold weather.  I tolerate cold weather in the same way one manages stress while waiting in a long queue at the supermarket.  You grab a tabloid and occupy yourself reading about the trashy rich and public lives of others until it is your turn at the register.  In winter months, I hole myself up in my apartment and wait the darkness out.  If this was the Paleolithic age, and I was the only female, the tribe would be in trouble.

However, as a commuter, this is methodology is not possible.  NO.  I must exit the den, layer on clothing, zip up my down parka, and brave the elements.  O joy. O rapture.

It happened upon one of my transverses between my cave and Penn Station that I found myself standing at a bus stop, trying to shrink into my coat to stay off the chills.  A woman approached me asking for directions.  It was her first time using the MTA and she wasn't sure which line she should take to get back to her sublet in Charles Village. 

After I confirmed what bus she should take, she began to explain what she was doing in Baltimore.  She spoke excitedly about her studies of the interconnection of transit networks or was it public health policies?  Um-hum...

See, I couldn't concentrate on her words.  I was freezing and, as she uttered her first words, a gentleman stumbled out of the station distracting my attention.  He swayed on his feet, back-and-forth, in a way that could only mean one thing - he was wasted.

My fellow bus rider followed my gaze to the new arrival.  She didn't blink, continuing on with her one-sided conversation. I, frozen, continued to watch the drunk.  Then, the grossest thing happened.

The drunk hiccupped, opened his mouth, and let forth the loudest, largest vomit I have ever witnessed.  It caused reflux in my throat.  I turned around quickly, trying to erase the image from my mind.  I immediately forgot how cold I was and concentrated on holding back my own sympathy puke.  It was disgusting.

My new friend was non plus.  She looked over at the man, who continued to puke, and said:

Woman: "O that doesn't bother me much.  I'm from Detroit."