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New York Minute

Getting sick on a train is tough business. I’ve seen people pass out and throw up, usually in tight quarters. One time on a crowded train, a woman feinted into the unsuspecting lap beneath her. The person attached to the lap made a move to quickly give up his seat, but in his haste to make space he dropped her on the floor.

I’ve never been that kind of sick, but I’ve felt a fever creep over me in those hellish depths. It was winter, hat-and-scarf winter, and that icky warmth spread out from the center of my thick jacket. It traced the outlines of my shoulders and neck until it erupted in sweat down my back and out towards my hands.

I wrenched my scarf free. I would have left it for trash on the floor if there was enough space to let it fall. I jammed the wool hat in my bag and wedged the bag between my legs. I unbuttoned the jacket. Even the warm, dank subway car air was welcome inside the jacket.

I pivoted slightly so I could wiggle one arm free of its sleeve. And then the other. The jacket slid down into my arms and I folded it over and over until it looked more like a pillow. I tied the scarf around the jacket like a sweaty parcel. Then I reached down to reposition my bag over my shoulders.

I thought to myself, if there is snow on the ground when I get out of this subway, I am going to bury my head in it.

I stood there sweating for a few minutes, holding the jacket package and feeling eyes on me from all over the car. The train slowed down to approach 125th St. I had about a hundred blocks to go.

By 168th St, I was shivering.

 [Photo by Lesley Steele]

Categories:  Jon DeRosa  New York Minute  NYC  Subway Stories

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1 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 6, 2011 4:30 pm

Oh man. That story is rough, man. Throwing up is the worst.

2 Jon DeRosa   ~  Dec 6, 2011 4:38 pm

[1] I got to sit next to someone throwing up on the airplane last week. I thought that would be bad, but then I sat next to her on the cab ride home, so I'm not sure which was worse. :)

3 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 6, 2011 4:58 pm

2) Dag, man!

4 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Dec 6, 2011 11:02 pm

[1,2] Lightweights! Jazz Princess threw up on me the other day, then when I put her down to clean up she added a bit more on the table..right on my copy of "Running The VooDoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis". Then as I reached to wipe off the precious book I slipped and fell on my tuchus, simultaneously knocking her tray of food all over myself. It was a bit like this:

5 thelarmis   ~  Dec 6, 2011 11:30 pm

[4] that's awesome, dude! ; )

6 Boatzilla   ~  Dec 7, 2011 1:42 am

[4] Nice.

My Sachi used to throw up on trains. Not light rail. Long hauls, like the shinkansen or SuperView, etc. It's a bummer when you're sitting next to strangers.

Once I was on some heavy pain killers and started feeling sick to my stomach at my local station platform. I managed to get out of the station, get on the bus (15 min ride home), get into my house, rush up stairs (wife was in the lower loo) and wretch like there was no tomorrow. It was coming out in fountains.

I have no idea how I held it that long.

7 Boatzilla   ~  Dec 7, 2011 1:47 am

[0] BTW, being overheated on a train or bus is my worst nightmare. And they really tend to overheat in this country for my body. I always have to under dress in the winter or end up carrying around my whole wardrobe on the train. It's hard to read with your hand full of wool.

Japanese people will not crack a window either. It could be a dutch oven and no one will move. I always have to be the trail blazer...and get the looks...."crazy gaijin."

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