During this morning's commute I encountered a vile situation that I had not experienced in many years. I saw the R train pull up to the platform around 6:30am and noted that the car I usually ride in was basically empty. I thought nothing of it because of the earliness of the hour — it was just before rush hour really gets started — but as anyone who's ever lived in New York City for a good while will tell you, one NEVER enters an empty car for any reason. If no one else is on that car, you shouldn't be either.
Anyway, it wasn't until I was on board and the doors had closed behind me that I immediately noticed an horrible, ultra-foul odor, like some great unwashed animal had rolled in its own filth at high noon on a hot summer's day. I looked to my left and caught sight of a bearded homeless man who looked not unlike Whitman Mayo — aka Grady from SANFORD & SON — grinning from ear-to-ear as he fumbled to zip up and button his pants. On the floor was an impressive lake of his just-left and reeking piss that, thanks to the movement of the train, was spreading in runnels of seven or eight feet in length in opposite directions.
Just as I absorbed that heartwarming tableux, I beheld the added charming sight of an equally-fresh and splattery pile of excrement that he had so thoughtfully contributed to one of the long, empty bench seats. (The train was one of the newer R trains that are generally exceedingly clean.)
Also trapped in the car with me were a high school-aged Asian couple that stoically held their composure while noting the human waste, and some random white guy who appeared to just be awakening from a very deep sleep. (cue "Good Morning" from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN) The look of horror on his face as he awakened to the stench and the sight of nasty ol' Grady reminded me of how H.P. Lovecraft more than once described the reactions of men who had witnessed unholy and otherworldly nightmarish life forms that drove men into jibbering states of drooling madness.
The train soon pulled into the next stop and Grady made his exit, walking like a zombie and giggling in a manner that left me unsure if he were crazy, very pleased with himself, or both.
Before I switched cars I seriously contemplated photographing his work of transit system performance art, but I opted against it. I did not want to be discussed by random witnesses as "some creepy schvuggie taking pictures of a homeless guy's piss and Mr. Softee dump." Sometimes I do care about what people think of me, apparently.