Friday, February 24, 2006

Misadventures on the Metro

chapter 7

Truth be told, Metro station floors are nasty. Not just the floors – the hand railings, ticket machine buttons, even the breathable air. Usually I don’t think about it. I don’t imagine the person who picks their nose, sneezes or coughs, touches their gum, brushes sweat from their forehead with the back of their hand and then grabs the railing. I forget about the puddles of filth, gum, dog waste and other things people step in before traipsing through the Metro station.

Unfortunately I became painfully aware of these hidden truths during a recent commute. The day started like most – drizzling a bit and cold. Being a savvy commuter I was prepared – warm jacket, gloves, chic yet warm scarf and commuting bag. I’ve even returned to the world of shoes. And feeling so good about this return, I’ve somewhat discontinued my “fashionable” tennis-shoes-to-work commuting practices. I was wearing my everyday staple 3-inch black heels.

Avoiding the escalatorphobes, my one track mind had me on course to meet my designated train via my designated platform. As I stepped off the first escalator, walking towards the second, I was caught off guard – literally. Amid the throngs of zombie commuters, I realized my right foot was bare, meaning one thing – my toes were touching the Metro station FLOOR! I looked down to see the heel of my shoe a step behind me wedged in a cracked tile. Hopping on my left 3-inch heel, balancing in a skirt and dodging the zillion people heading to work, I fought to dislodge my heel. More importantly I tried to keep my bare toes from touching the infested ground.

I was only halfway successful – I removed my shoe from the crack, but because of poor balance I touched down with my uncovered foot while flashing all passers-by.

I couldn’t concentrate on my book during the train ride. My thoughts were clouded by the cauliflower-shaped bacteria probably growing on my foot. I rushed to my office from the train and immediately slathered my foot with multiple layers of antibacterial gel. Still, my ambivalence to Metro germs vanished. It’s been a hard fight to remain sane while thinking about the thousands of people who use the same public transit as me. Thank heavens for super-sized bottles of antibacterial gel and a healthy immune system. My advice: watch where you walk and never, ever think about the filth in public places.


Dan said...

Ah yes, Metrogerms. I'm convinced that my recent bouts with 4 colds and flus over the past 4 months are not due to an immuno-compromising disease, nor are they the result of some hidden germ warfare project being conducted in the Washington DC area. No, my problems are coming from a far more fetid, insidious source - the DC Metro system. I've turned into quite the Howard Hughes since traveling underground on a daily basis. It's a horrible, nasty place below the earth that would be best left to worms and Satan, not to newlywed commuters like me.

becky said...

You speak the sad, disgusting truth.