Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Throw vomit from the train

I must be some kind of a puke magnet, because for the second time I've had the misfortune of sitting next to someone on the train that had to vomit uncontrollably. This time was a little too close for comfort.

It was last Monday, and I had just caught my 5:45 p.m. rush hour train going from Penn Station out to New Jersey. Since I wasn't early enough to get a good seat, I had to squeeze on the long bench across from the lavatory. As the train started to move, I noticed a well-dressed man standing opposite from me, leaning up against the lavatory's sliding door. When the woman next to me got up to move to another seat, he took her seat next to me. He seemed really out of it, and also seemed to have a persistent case of the hiccups, which I could feel because we were squeezed up against each other. I put my earphones on and turned out for what was shaping up to be a long ride home.

I was dozing off when someone shook me awake - it was another man that had been standing next to the first guy. I took my earpiece out and he said, "you'd better stand up, this guy next to you is throwing up." I looked over and sure enough, the guy was passed out and vomiting up on himself. I immediately jumped up and checked myself - no vomit, thank goodness! I gathered my coat and purse from the overhead rack and moved as far away as I could, which was about two steps on a crowded train.

The second man tried to get the sick guy to get into the bathroom, but he was completely unresponsive (yet somehow still able to stay seated upright). Eventually, the vomit dribbled down his suit and tie and started pooling on the floor. We called for the conductor using the intercom, and he was also unable to get a response from the man. I think no one wanted to touch him, probably for legal reasons, or just to stay away from the puke.

Finally we reached the next stop and a policeman was called. By this time I got out of the train and walked a couple cars down and re-entered another car. I knew from my first experience with this situation that it would soon become unbearably stinky and it was better to move now than be stuck there. The policeman couldn't revive him, so they called EMS, who came and finally took him off the train. I don't know what they did to him, but I saw the guy walking down the platform being held up by EMS people on both sides as we were leaving the station.

Another thing about New York is that there needs to be a rule limiting the size of umbrella you can carry. It's raining here today, and I see skinny people holding these huge golf umbrellas that come close to poking your eye out when you're squeezed on a busy sidewalk or walking down a subway staircase. I think umbrellas should be limited to three times the diameter of your waistline. How's that for an incentive to gain weight?

I also learned last night that my nearby branch of the New York Public Library is closing at the end of May, which is a pity because that was the most convenient branch for me. But the selection of DVDs is much better at my local NJ library anyway. However, there's a Pooh-Bear exhibit that we want to see before they close it up.

I'm also excited about going to Springfield, Ohio in early March for my friend Joanna's wedding. I can't remember the last wedding I went to - I'm sure it was years ago. I still don't believe in the traditional concept of marriage, but it's nice to see other people celebrate their love. I'm hoping to see some of my friends there, but I don't know who was invited. Should be interesting meeting all these new people too that I've heard such interesting stories about from Jo.

On the subway escalator yesterday I was standing behind a girl. She was wearing a white coat and a white knit hat, and her hair was peeking out the sides, and it was the color of pink cotton candy. It was thick and straight, like handfuls of fresh-cut wheat. I wish I could have seen her face, but when we got to the train platform, she took off for the opposite end of the station than I was going. If that's the way her hair always looks, maybe I'll spot her again someday.

Tara and I celebrated Valentine's Day early on Monday with candlelight and incense, and a long red satin gown I've been saving for such an occasion. Go ahead, use your imagination...