Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Adventures in Metroland

Civic Center Metro Station ..., originally uploaded by Simon Shek.

I've been riding Metro regularly for almost a year now. I moved to Koreatown in June and started taking Metro to work and other places then. In that time I've ridden all hours of the day--early, midday, night, late night--and nothing exciting happened. I'd hop in the train or bus and sit quietly until I got to my destination. Every ride had been uneventful, save for the smelly homeless person or the self-talker.

Then there was today.

Wednesday usually means trivia night, but tonight I skipped trivia and took Metro to Pasadena to have dinner at Houston's with the family. I squeezed myself into a Union Station-bound train and took a spot in the aisle towards one end of the car. No sooner had the train started towards Civic Center when I heard a familiar, retching sound followed by a splash. The space that quickly opened up in the crowded train and the gasps confirmed the disgusting event. A passenger had thrown up. It was easy to spot the culprit as he stood there alone, pale-faced by the door, wiping his mouth with his sleeves. As anyone who has thrown up can attest, you don't just vomit once. Sure enough, more vomit from the poor guy. Everywhere you looked was a disgusted face. Some passengers covered their nose and mouth with the books they were reading, and others declared that they were getting off.

I understand that being in close proximity to vomit isn't desirable, but do people really need to make the poor guy feel even worse? It's easy for me to act all high and mighty when I wasn't the one whose shoes got splattered with vomit juice, but I felt bad for the guy. I doubt he wanted to throw up in a crowded, shaky train. It just happened. When we finally made it to Union Station I asked the guy if he was OK. He just shook his head and ducked out of the train.

On the ride back home after dinner, I became fascinated by one of my fellow passengers. The guy was dressed like he had just come from a round of golf. He read the sports section with the aid of a pair of broken glasses, missing one of the temples, which he had to hold up to his eyes to use. What made it more interesting was that they were women's glasses. When he tilted his head I saw the glasses were embellished with florets at the corner.

I was studying the guy when something caught my eye in the car in front of us. A woman was pressing the emergency button over and over again. An African-American man moves towards her and a guy in a red soccer polo jumps in between them. The woman keeps frantically pressing the emergency call button and the two men appear to be struggling. The guy in the red keeps pushing the other guy away, away from the woman. It looked like they were grasping each other's hands and were engaged in a wrestling match. The guy gets away from the guy in the red and lunges towards the frightened woman, who backs towards the middle of the car. The guy in the red keeps pushing. As we're approaching Wilshire/Vermont the African-American passenger goes through the doors that lead to our car. I got scared. What was going to happen? The guy in the soccer polo follows him and yells something about a guy in a gray sweater and that the police had been called. When they made it to our car I noticed that the African-American guy had a cut on his forehead. When the doors opened at Wilshire/Vermont, the guy with the cut exits, followed by the guy in the soccer polo who continued to yell something about the police. I'm not sure if the guy got that cut during the altercation or if he had that when he boarded. He looked strung out, so it's possible that he wasn't completely there.

After a while I couldn't hear them. The doors closed and we headed towards Wilshire/Normandie.

Vomit and violence. Don't it make you want to go Metro?

1 comment:

Janey Jane said...

You should start writing a book about your trips on the metro and then add crazy storylines to them.... I would've totally freaked out. You can see that much in the next car over?