Hate Filled Rant: L Train Edition

This article appears in the new humorous lil ‘zine MIBK.  For subscriptions, info, or what the letters actually mean email MIBK.ZINE@gmail.com

Like its fellow creatures of the night, vampires, wolfmen, Jay Leno, the L-Train becomes a monster at the witching hour.  Working in the service industry, I frequently stare down this red eyed cyclops but barely have the legs under me to sneer.  Its when the L Train is running on one track and the hours begin to disappear on the platform that I become the monster.  Every thought and action, no matter how subtle is left dripping in vitriol and spite.  My fists pull at the pockets of my peacoat as if ready for a donnybrook, my eyes scan the physical shortcomings in my fellow travelers, and the young Asian Shannon Hoon beside me ceases to be ironic and amusing and becomes the murderer of every 90’s mix tape I bought in my melancholy youth and I hope for the fate of his namesake upon him.

So you can only imagine what becomes of all this when the train comes and its packed like ass half of Louis Anderson’s gym shorts.  Tears of anger well and I envy any and all who seem even the slightest bit intoxicated.

Now normally I’m a travel pragmatist.  I have no problem say resting my already porous knee cartilage in a subway seat even if there’s a less then able octogenarian swaying above me.  But I do have one code I follow without exception.  When I am standing on a subway car, holding onto the ceiling, and involuntarily touching multiple fellow straphangers, I make sure to take off my saddlebag, backpack or crate of illegals and set it below me.

The young shit before me was not a man of such a code.  Instead, he was a man to who wore a trench coat like some high school cliche and strapped on a black LL Bean backpack that was filled to capacity with what I could only imagine was the bodies of homeless puppies that took up more cubic space then the combined area of the four 80 pound rave girl in front of him.  With his earbuds ablaze, the L slowing to the pace of the wounded animal it was, I knew I would have to put off pouring into the pages of Mole People and present a physical confrontation to set this man back into civility.  Fortunately as I was sharpening my iPod into a shiv against the exposed gruff of the subway floor, I heard the mumbled call of a creature I was not ready for.

Scuse me.
Cuse me.
AaaaCuse me.

From the door on the other side of the train car I could see the densely packed throngs of weary travelers waving like high grass in a field when a boar is pushing through.

Cuse me.
Scuse me.

Yet another without the decency of a proper urban upbringing, the boar/man continued to push forward and the wave soon began to part before me. The anger turned, split and amplified.  And then the smell hit.

It was overwhelming and as he began to breach my vision I can tell that this man ranks among those without a home.  In order to avoid empathetic connection and any possible drunken attempts at conversation, I turn my copy of Mole People so the cover is facing the floor.

Scuse me.

He appeared Mexican, at least I generalized him to be. The same way I think of all Eastern Europeans as Commies.  You may be from Ecuador or your intellectual grandparents may have been died in the Siberian gulags, but its certainly not as funny to me to know that.

And I can no longer ignore him.

The cloud of cow killing stench hit me again like a spiny mallet and I stared into the squints of a man no taller then 5’3 with flowing gray hair and the girth of a security planter.  And he was smiling back a shiny drunken grin that defined shit-eating. My teeth were about to gnash into a wet enamel dust when the rave girl in the Rainbow Bright eyeliner whispered in horror.

O God. He peed.

Sure enough, as the people began to Biblically part for him, I could see he was leaving behind puddles of his waste in his wake.  It squeezed out of his Reeboks in little athletic shaped ponds.  Staring right at him I made the evasive action and sunk into the understanding crowd behind me.  Trenchcoat did not.  And as the Mexican vagrant passed him, he pushed deep into his backpack and slung him around like some Ferris Bueller bully.  The man disappeared between cars and Trenchcoat got his first whiff of what had become of his backpack.

I enjoy the small things in life just as much as I hate them.  The negativity I had stacked like newspapers in a old woman’s rent controlled apartment had no business being rewarded.  But I knew from the hopeless look in Trenchcoat’s eyes that he would carry a part of my jolly homeless Mexican with him and I could hardly hide my pleasure as the train pulled out from under the East River.


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