Mass transit commuters understand the variety of pet peeves and irrational fears that emerge from years and years of hurtling through their city's bowels. (or above them. big ups, chicago. you keep your shit elevated, dunny!) Everything from greasy pole touch to a staunch refusal, no matter how crowded your train, to sit on a bench that has anything on it. Could be a newspaper, or a love note, and it wouldn't matter, because someone must have taken a shit on or beneath it, surely.
Two pet peeves that bind us all (unless we live in chinatown) are People Who Clip Their Nails On The Subway and People Who Eat Hot Food On The Subway. Because the former gives my spine the chills whenever I discuss it, I'll focus on the latter. In my seven-plus years here, I've seen enough mass transit feedings to make someone move to a safehouse. Fried cod fritters, a full chicken wing dinner (coupled with the diner spitting the denuded bones right on the subway floor), McDonald's fries. I once saw a man greedily inhale tuna maki. I never understood how that could happen.
But today I really do think I hit the jackpot. Feel free to challenge me, but during the morning rush I saw a guy eating a full pancake breakfast on the uptown 9 train. It was amazing. Fork, knife, styrofoam plate. Beat that. Think you can? Well, you can't because just when it couldn't get any better, he whipped out some maple syrup and applied it liberally. Touchdown. I really do hate when people eat proper meals on the subway - I can stomach packaged foods, for reasons so irrational that to offer any explanation would just seem like a foolish attempt to dignify them - but that might have all changed today. If you think it's OK to have your pancake breakfast on the subway, you deserve to be mayor. That's the rule.
Then, thinking I'd absorbed all the magic my pores could hold for one day, I was walking down the street, dreaming of high-speed flapjacks and crossed in front of a man delivering a stack of cardboard boxes on a small hand-truck. When I got within six inches of him, a gust of wind ripped the lid from the topmost cardboard box to reveal its contents: LIVE LOBSTERS! One half second later and I would have missed a wonderful glimpse of street lobsters. People expound endlessly on the power of this city, but it's because they can't help it. You see, New York can be very difficult. It doesn't try to help you out when you're feeling down. More often, it simply exacerbates. But sometimes it sees fit to lift a lid or open a window, and let you see something so perfect that you forigve it all of its regular brutality. It's just like Ike Turner that way.