What's the grossest thing you've seen on the TTC?
Everyone who has taken public transit surely has a story that would make your stomach churn. And by some accident in human hard-wiring, we seem eat up these tales with insatiable curiosity. A hazard of my daily life is that I spend an exorbitant amount of time on the TTC, witnessing the best of human kindness and depths of social (and hygienic) despair. But no one wants to hear about the niceties. Yes, I've witnessed far too many visual violations for my liking, but if any good can come from the loathsome acts I've been privy to see, it's through uniting with others to swap the best of our tales of transit revulsion.
You would think the grossest thing I've seen on the TTC would involve some sort bodily fluid or function. Not so. Don't get me wrong — I have indeed beheld a few incidences that left indelible urine stains on my mind, but they don't hold a dirty-diaper-on-the-seat to what I witnessed on the Yonge line about one year ago.
I was in a dispersedly populated car, sharing a row of three seats with a woman in her 40's (with the obligatory empty seat between us, of course). The woman pulls out a snack from her oversized purse, and I continue staring at my phone, as is custom in the presence of strangers. Then I make the mistake of looking over. The woman is eating a hard-boiled egg as one might eat at apple, which, granted, is not excessively offensive on its own. Nevertheless, I'm sensitive about these things; I don't much care for consumption via unusual modes, be it cottage cheese through a straw, Cheetos with a fork, or tackling an egg as you would an ear of corn. The food doesn't change, but to me, it becomes unsightly.
But for some perverse reason, I keep my stalker-stare strong and watch as the woman enjoys her snack. I should mention at this point that she's eating from the top down, with just a small revealed portion at the north end off the egg. The rest, including the part that she's holding, has its shell perfectly intact and I expect her to peel as she makes her way down. Again, not so. Soon, to my utter revulsion, I hear that first, chilling crunch. "No," I think; "it couldn't be." Crunch. Egads woman, what are you doing?! Crunch. Jesus. I'll peel it for you if you want. Crunch. Ugh. There's shell stuck to your bottom lip. Crunch.
With every subsequent, audible bite I feel my tonsils tease my tongue and my gag reflex is summoned into a state of "fight or flight." In a minute or so, the egg — shell and all — has been devoured completely, and I'm left pale-faced and tasting my lunch as the woman gets up to exit the train. Call me weak if you please, but it was indeed one of the most traumatizing acts of satiation that I have ever seen between Summerhill and Lawrence stations. At the very least — and on the bright side — she didn't leave any shell on the seat.
That's my horror story. So, what's the grossest thing you've seen on the TTC?
Photo by Asianz in the blogTO Flickr pool