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Tuesday, October 18, 2005


If you live in the Big Apple you have no doubt taken the subway on pretty much a daily basis. The city’s underground mass-transit system is pretty easy to figure out, relatively cheap, and an excellent opportunity for catching up on one’s reading. Sadly, in much the same way that a really good fuck can lead to unwanted pregnancy and a host of diseases, the wondrous subway is also a magnet for the worst behavior that one can find outside of a padded cell, perpetrated by both “upstanding” citizens and the vilest dregs of society. In some cases, the average straphanger would actually welcome the muzzle of a snub-nosed revolver stuffed into their bridgework rather than face some of the horrors of daily tubeway pests.

My own personally witnessed favorite example of the worst that can happen during a commute occurred a few years ago during the Christmas season; festive decorations as far as the eye could see, kids ready to explode with anticipation of Santa hooking them up with righteous swag, seasonal tunes filling the air, a general feeling of goodwill and happiness. Perfectly charming, right?


As the 6 train made its way to Grand Central Station, the doors opened at Fourteenth Street, allowing the Yuletide throng onto the already packed car. Among the entering swarm was one of the city’s legion of the homeless — once more frankly known as “those fucking bums” — who appeared to be foaming at the mouth while he incoherently rambled to no one in particular. It was painfully obvious from his lack of basic motor skills and wildly rolling eyes that he was totally drunk, on drugs, out of his mind or all of the above.

The mass of subway riders did their best to shift positions to allow this walking trash heap to pass among and away from them, but there was only so much room to let the guy through. For what seemed like an eternity, this wobbling waste of life lurched like a zombie while spreading his stench of days-old urine and dried-on vomit to the agonized nostrils of innocent passengers. Suddenly, the train came to a jarring halt, causing the bum to lose his balance and topple headlong on top of an adorable six-year-old girl while her mother watched in horror. As his intoxicated mass pinned the child to the floor, the bum lost all control of his bodily functions and the unmistakable sound of his bowels letting loose like a clattering volcano filled the air along with the most sickening reek of spewed shit that I have ever encountered. Now, I regularly eat Indian food and all sorts of spicy goodies, so I am not a virgin to horrible bathroom smells, so trust me when I say that this was a plague-upon-Egypt-level funk.

As the pinned child squirmed and shrieked at her violation, the bum then let fly with a bladder full of hardcore wino piss which flowed in all directions, soaking not only the poor girl but also the carefully wrapped presents that sat on the floor. As the bum lay thrashing about in his own personal filth swamp, the horrified passengers snapped out of their shock and dove to rescue the little girl before she absorbed more of his shit/piss stew like a sponge. The bum ranted and raved like he was possessed, and as he was positioned onto his ass there was a loud “squish” when he sat full force onto lake of turds within his pants. The girl’s mother swooped down to remove her daughter from the spewing bum’s unwanted attentions, grabbed the kid and fled to the closest door. The ruined child howled as if she’d been stabbed and when the doors opened she was whisked away into the less-foul air of Park Avenue South. The bum suddenly straightened up, looked around and said “Uuuruuggch???” And thus was a Christmas memory born.

Yeah, that’s a pretty extreme story, but it is far from the only horrible and annoying thing that New Yorkers endure every fucking day. Despite increased police presence on the trains, there is no way that the cops can ever hope to combat the endless parade of idiots and irritants that infest the underground railways, in fact their efforts are pretty much as useful as electric earwax. Let’s face it: the authorities and the general public are fighting a losing battle against this bullshit so it is a good idea to be familiar with our common enemy. Here is a field guide to some of the human vermin whose complete and utter non-existence would make the subways a much more tolerable place. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

These are those obnoxious senior citizens who feel the mere fact that they’ve avoided taking the dirt nap for as long as they have should give them the uncontested right to violently slug their way onto a subway car (using physical prowess that would make an twenty-two-year-old Olympic athlete envious) in search of a seat and give you shit if you have anything to say about it, with the standard retort of “I’m old and fragile.” When I encounter this particular sub-species of the elderly I realize that the Inuit have the right idea about letting the seriously aged loose into the tundra to end up as an old-sicle or a snack for wolves or polar bears.

You’ve seen this foul collection of walking gin sugars and pork rinds a million times, in fact it is impossible to miss him or her since they are so fucking fat that they have their own gravitational field. Every centimeter of their doughy flesh wiggles like a dropped slab of Jell-O as they approach the three empty seats that can barely accommodate the continent that passes for their ass. Heaving and gasping for air in a fair imitation of a beached trout, this subway leviathan spreads out its hammy limbs, absorbing every possible bit of available space, causing distress even to the microscopic germs in the air. I understand the problems of being overweight, but what removes all sympathy for this particular assmunch is the attitude that they give off. I once had a jacked up ankle that required me to take a seat during my commute, and when I managed to find one of those seats that places your legs into the aisle I ended up next to a Jabba. The guy undulated his pudding-like head in my direction and said “It’s kind of tight over here, don’t you think?” I looked at this no-stranger-to-KFC fuck and offered the kind suggestion that he buy an industrial strength girdle and shut his fucking mouth, only this time around a mouthful of air rather than a steaming ladle full of simmered pork fat.

Among the most rock bottom annoying of the common subway pains in the ass, the top-of-his-lungs purveyor of the word of God would irritate Jesus himself to the point of the Savior backhanding the idiot with his stigmata-punctured mitt. Religion is best spread in such appropriate venues as churches, synagogues, mosques and Satanic altars, just don’t foist it on me while I’m pretty much held captive in a subway car. These would-be holy rollers aggressively shout about how all viewpoints other than their own are not only wrong but will send all unbelievers on a one-way trip to Hell, where they will smoke a turd for a pain-filled eternity. That would be enough, but most of these guys will stand there for several stops, never letting up on their tirade until inevitably out-shouted by irate free thinkers or Jews. And why is it that most of these guys are black? Speaking as a card-carrying highly rhythmic individual, I know for a fact that we have much more important things to do with our time, such as writing misogynistic rap songs, drinking forty-ouncers of Olde English and fucking fat white women, so where do these dudes get off?

It’s one thing to see someone fix their hair or makeup on the train, but it’s another thing entirely to witness the grody slobs who engage in all forms personal hygiene just short of applying Preparation H or changing a juicy, saturated tampon. There is a time and place for everything, but these people have personal habits that would make a monkey blush. I have personally seen people trimming their nose hairs, shaving their legs and armpits, and worst of all I have “caught shrapnel” as an inconsiderate twat clipped her toenails; I was in mid-yawn when a yellowed chunk of this woman’s talon careened into my open mouth. Much hardcore cussing ensued as I tried my damnedest not to puke up my breakfast all over the aisle.

I love me some porno. Videos, books, spank mags with shots of girls with their pussies splayed open like humid ham sandwiches, all of that shit. But I do not share my interest in such material with my fellow subway passengers. On several occasions I have been subjected to the awesomely creepy sight of an old man — invariably white — with a brown paper bag full of hard core jack-rags poring over their pages with an intense gaze usually reserved for studying for the SATs. These filthy old bastards have no concern for who may be sitting next to them; they have taken up residence in their own private reading room, utterly oblivious to the wide-eyed seven-year-old girl in the next seat who’s looking at what she may think are the old man’s photos of exotic pink sea life. The only way to deal with these pervs is to get up and sit somewhere else, preferably in another car, but by that time it’s too late; you now have the image of someone’s grandpa checking out a gash festival in public and not giving a shit if anyone notices his flaccid turkey neck of a cock attempting to sputter back to life.

Beggars on the subway are annoying enough, but the worst of the breed are those who fancy themselves entertainers. You know who I’m talking about: break dancers who move like they have cerebral palsy, violin players whose instruments are hopelessly out of tune, screechy-voiced would-be crooners who belt out songs that were old when God was born, and worst of all, the deafening doo-wop groups. Maybe this would all be okay if you happened to be into the harsh interruptions of your already miserable existence that they are forcing on you, but the odds against you actually enjoying what they are selling are pretty fucking slim. You are between stops with no hope of escape, and they know it. Consider yourself fucked.

They scurry into the train like a rat on crack, nervously surveying the car for cops, dragging a cardboard rack loaded with all manner of stuff no one — and I do mean no one — wants or needs. A blue, see-through plastic dolphin filled with sugar water or a pen with a picture of Nixon on it that loses its clothes when you shake it? He’s got ‘em. What makes these guys actually think that you would buy one single item from their display of worthless junk that wouldn’t even pass muster in the cheapest storefront in Chinatown? I have never seen anyone purchase anything from one of these parasites, yet they are as common as tits on women. Their even more hateful brethren are the supposedly deaf guys who try to extort you into buying cheap plastic ballpoint pens from them at insane prices by playing on your sympathy for their handicap. I for one would like to buy one of those pens and immediately drive it through the eardrum of the douchebag who sold it to me.

Why is it that there are guys out there who actually think that they’ll get some play by being as obnoxious to women on the subway as possible? They attempt a rap that has no chance of working, and those on the train continually witness these attempts at suaveness crashing and burning Hindenburg-style. I guarantee you that these guys have not seen a trace of pussy since the day they slid out of one, and it is likely that they never will again if they keep this shit up. And why is it that they are nearly always black, Italian or Hispanic? All of these groups pretty much win the stereotype sweepstakes, and it’s behavior like this that will keep such perceptions alive into the foreseeable future.

Loud, uncouth and obnoxious blacks and Hispanics who turn the subway car into a study of the most offensive ethnic stereotypes brought to life should be shot the second they open their mouths to scream “nigga” and rendered down into something useful, such as glue or lamp oil. I cringe in sheer embarrassment whenever I encounter these types, and they always represent the absolute worst of traits that make white people hate us. And do not get me started on the white kids who act and speak like Ol’ Dirty Bastard on a coke bender…

Intensely disliked even by those who share their faith, the subway is plagued with Orthodox Jewish men who frequently molest non-Semitic females whom they feel they can treat disgustingly since they are shiksa trash. Steering clear of black and Hispanic women who would most likely kill them for the slightest offense, these Chosen routinely choose white chicks as their favorite targets; several of my melanin-deprived lady friends have horror stories about the insanely vile things that these guys have tried on them, everything from whipping out their greasy Johnsons to trying to lodge their fingers into the girls’ unwilling snatches. The worst of these true life encounters involves a friend of mine who showed up to work looking utterly devastated after realizing that one of these black-clad blights upon society had massively spewed his love custard all over the rear of her new dress. This sort of behavior should be payable by having these assholes doused with the foulest menstrual waste possible, a fitting punishment since these guys have no respect for the female.

Long a mainstay of the late night trip home, the “here’s my dick” guy happily displays his flesh pencil to innocent ladies for reasons known only to himself. It’s sad that smoking is outlawed on the subway because it would be hilarious to watch some irate chick stub out a ciggie on some idiot’s engorged member. Talk about harshing the boner…

Eating on the train is no big deal… unless it’s some asshole that has hauled some fried food into the car. Usually stuff like Popeye’s chicken or smelly fried fish sandwiches are the irritants here; both of which are fine when consumed in a space with plenty of ventilation, but on an enclosed train the stench of rapidly congealing grease and fat can be overwhelming and nauseating. And the slobs who usually stuff their fat faces with this stuff on the train have no intention of properly disposing of their food waste and simply leave it on an empty seat or dump it onto the floor, bones, half-eaten thighs and all.

Inconsideration takes human form in the guise of the smoker who simply cannot wait to light up until they get above ground. A subway car is enclosed and stuffy enough, and it fucking sucks to be asphyxiated by the fumes of someone else’s carcinogenic self-destruction.

Is there anything more horrible than seeing some stinkbomb unsteadily stand up, drop his pants and start growing a tail? I don’t think so. Such a sight is guaranteed to clear a car the second the doors open at the next stop. (Dishonorable mention: insane/intoxicated female derelicts who change tampons and sanitary napkins on the train. Yes, I have seen it happen.)

Since passed out passengers are not an uncommon sight, it is inevitable that some poor bastard will give up the ghost and remain unnoticed, riding the rails as rigor mortis sets in. I once witnessed what I thought was simply some unconscious drunk being examined by a cop who had just entered the train; the officer tried to wake the guy up by banging his club against the seat next to him, and when that didn’t work the cop looked long and hard at the guy. He then produced a telescoping version of one of those little dentist’s mirrors and held it under the guy’s nose. When there was no trace of the mirror being fogged over by the guy’s breath, the cop stopped the train and called for a crew to haul the corpse out in a body bag. The woman who had been seated next to the stiff was visibly turning green and promptly flashed the hash all over the empty seat to her left.


Anonymous said...

Ok - tho I think some of your descriptions were a bit harsh I agree and have experienced most of what you have listed. What is bizarre but expected there is not the same stuff here in London.

To be honest I have yet to see any Hasidic Jews here - maybe it's a tribal thing or the fact that I don't live near the Jewish Ghetto that is North London but I just don't see them. I have heard kids call each other "nigga" but it's so fucked up when mixed with an english accent and on top of that they try to sound JAMAICAN I just giggle and try not to laugh at them.

The big thing here is really loud personal stereos - you know - the volume so loud that you can here the screeching of the bad synth dance crap they call music here and if you ask the offender to turn it down they give you a look like you have asked them to hand over a kidney.

There are bums on the tube system - and like NY - peopel give them a wide berth but yet they are usually pretty well dressed for homeless people - it wouldn't be english to inappropriatelly attired.


Bobby "the Blue" said...

Brilliant as always, Mr. Bunche!

Da Nator said...

Christ in a hatchback! I have been taking the subway now for near on 20 years and I have not seen half the shit you describe. Remind me not to ride with you!

(With all affection, of course.)

Johnny said...

I've always taken a dim view of the subway diner. I'm talking about those who consume actual meals on the train.
One time this big guy sat next to me, pulled a huge Tupperware out of a bag, and opened it to reveal a huge pile of what looked like home-made fried chicken.
He inhaled all of it in a loud fashion, and further graced us with the sight and sound of his incessant finger-licking.
It was a gross exhibition, I tells you.
Then there was the mother who had her kid eat cold Spaghett-ios right out of the can.
Then there's the cooking that goes on...
My friend Hayes was a subway conductor a long time ago. One time, on the train that goes out to the Rockaways, a passenger told him that he smelled smoke. Investigating, Hayes made his way toward the rear of the train. In the last car he found a bunch of beach-bound Hispanics roasting some meat on a Hibachi.

Mickiet said...

How do I sent you a photo of a recent subway miscreant?

Bunche (pop culture ronin) said...

You can send the pic to the email address in my profile, seen at the top of this site to the right.