I am not down with O.P.C.
As a 15 year resident of New York City, I have seen some serious mess bubble up on the subway. I've witnessed self-soiling stockbrokers and a drag queen in the throes of a heroin nod eating a pink Hostess Sno Ball that had been rolling along the car's grime-caked floor. I have stood near the splash zones of all manner of bodily fluid exchanges and oh hells's bells - the endless, unclad 'nads.
So what in the name of all that is holy would drive a person to think the subway is a dandy place to gobble down a chicken dinner?
But they do, they DO in flocks and deep-fried droves. Young, old, male, female, from every nation on Earth and borough of the city, they descend into the bowels of the New York City transit system with aluminum take-out pans and paper buckets to wreak reeking hell upon their fellow riders. No matter how much one loves chicken (and holy cluck, do I love me some chicken), the warm, sickening waft permeating every last centimeter of a body-jammed subway car is enough to put a person off their feed.
Any hot food on the subway - yes, you, Mr. Roast Beef Sandwich Chomper, and I *am* talking to you, little Miss Big Mac - is cruel and unusual punishment for other passengers. We're stacked like sweaty cordwood into a sealed metal box prone to nauseating jolts, someone's aforementioned bodily fluid or unclad bits could plop into your dinner at any second and dude - you are seriously stinking up the joint. Even if your meal smells like truffles, rainbows and unicorn burps, you're taunting a hungry co-commuter and that's just plain mean.
Mostly, though, it's chicken, and through some strange law of subway physics, the smell wafts and gags and settles and...oh sweet Colonel Sanders, he's not...oh yes he is...he's LEAVING THE BONES BEHIND!
I am not making this up. Each and every time I have ridden the train from my friend's home in Astoria, Queens back to my home in Brooklyn, the car has either come pre-boned or someone has gotten on, chomped, and left the remains behind as if to practice some manner of dark transit magick upon the Q line. I can tell you from experience that no manner of spell, prayer or incantation is going to make that three-borough schlep even one minute faster. That still doesn't give straphangers the green light to spread out and have a picnic.
We all have places to be and precious little time in which to get to them. It may be tempting to tuck into a hot bird aboard the train and arrive at one's destination well-fed (and hey - free floor show!). Still, I stand by the decree I laid down a decade ago when a hometown friend was bunking with me while seeking a New York City nest of her own.
"I'll just grab some chicken lo mein and eat it on the train on the way to my audition."
"No." I shook my head. "You won't. I hate to sound bossy, but I just can't let you do that. Eat it on a park bench, let your stomach rumble through your audition, scarf it walking down the street - just don't, I beg of you, even consider doing it on the subway."
She pouted for a second, as only an aspiring off-Broadway actress can. "But...but...I see other people eating on the subway. Why shouldn't I?"
Well, friend, because it's just plain fowl.
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