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Commuting Suicide: Volume XXVI
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I'm not sure if he was homeless. But he had all the symptoms of being homeless. A plastic bag full of other plastic bags. A steady head twitch. Shoes with well-worn soles. This is not a rare sighting on the New York subway. What he did next, however, is.

Most days, my commute is relatively painless. A few transfers, some crowding, perhaps a few panhandlers, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The days when something different happens, that's what you live for. Something to break up the monotony. Derailment. Shootout. Birth. Those will change things up a bit.

I could tell something wasn't right. Most homeless people will sit or sleep on the train quietly. (Almost always toward the end of the car) They rarely walk around, unless it's to ask for money. This guy, in particular, was pacing. He'd walk to the subway map, back to his seat, and then to the other end of the car. He was searching for something. With a nervous edge, he'd tap his hand on his knee. I was ready to switch cars for fear he'd pull out a gun, or attack me, when he opened the sliding door at the end of the car and walked into the space between the two cars.

An automated message warns passengers not to ride between subway cars as it's dangerous. A quick jolt would easily send a passenger riding between the cars over the side and (presumably) to their excruciatingly painful death below. This guy must not have heard the message.

I was interested. I'd made an investment with this character and wanted to see how things played out. So I watched him, subtly, from my seat. He ducked down quickly and below the window of the door. For those of you not familiar with the New York Subway, the doors at the ends of the trains slide back and forth, and a locking mechanism puts them in place once they're closed. These locks rarely work, which was the case with the door the homeless man was behind.

On a turn, the door slid open to reveal the man. He hadn't jumped/fallen to his death. He was still very much alive and, squatting, creating his own version of 2 Girls 1 Cup. I watched, both disgusted and intrigued, as he defecated over the side of the train. Luckily, the rumble and screeching of the train drowned out the sounds of his bowel movement. Once finished, he stood up, gave a quick swipe of his bum with his hand, pulled his pants up and came back inside the car. I stifled a gag.

The lesson to be learned here is, no matter how clean you think that pole in the subway car is, there's a good chance it's been touched by a man who took a crap and used his hand to wipe his ass.

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8 Comments

I think I saw this at Cirque du Soleil.

said Don't Swayze Bro on July 14, 2008 11:12 AM.

great story...crappy ending. loved it.

said johnnycrosslin on July 14, 2008 11:38 AM.

That's awesome!
I don't think any of us can say that we never took a dump off the side of a subway.
Too bad you didn't get a picture with your cell phone. That would have made a great caption competition.

said Dave on July 14, 2008 11:41 AM.

I just vomited in my Lucky Charms...

said Johnny Wright on July 14, 2008 11:50 AM.

That's a reason why I'm glad I walk from home to work!

said Leonardo Carvalho on July 14, 2008 1:24 PM.

At least he chose to do his business at the end of the car rather at the front of the car. There's probably a blog post somewhere written by someone in the car behind you. And it's probably not as humerous as this post was...

said dcm on July 14, 2008 5:23 PM.

I hope Scaramouch understands now why I tell him to wash his hands when he comes in from work. :)

said CindylovesScara on July 14, 2008 9:14 PM.

So what was the pacing for? Was he trying to decide whether to crap in front or back or was he desperately seeking toilet paper?

said onecoolassmom on July 14, 2008 11:59 PM.
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