Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Subway Hand

After riding the subway regularly for 6 months now, I have a new motto: once my hand goes on that pole, it’s not touching anything else until I wash it (I sometimes wonder if that’s also a stripper’s methodology).  The second my hand touches that silver medal, it may as well be dead to me.

People often ask me why I am so crazy about touching the subway pole, and I find myself going through a little internal dialogue while preparing an answer.

Inside the OCD mind: “First things first, have you seen the caliber of people that touch the pole?  Now imagine the people that you AREN’T seeing touch it.  There are probably, boogers, sweat, blood, tears, dead body, filth, homeless people, drugs, human excretions etc. on that pole.  Scenario: what if I were to forget that my hand was on that cesspool of germs and I were to, dare I say, rub my eye, touch my iPhone, lick my finger (gasp) …. I wouldn't be able to live with myself.”

One coping mechanism I enlisted on my first day back on the subway was to designate which hand was going to be my subway hand.  What is a subway hand you ask?  Why it’s the hand that all New Yorkers inevitably draft to go to war on the subway pole each day, not knowing what foes it may encounter on the front lines.  I chose my left hand (sorry buddy, you had a 50/50 shot).  I’d like to introduce you to Leftie.

"Hi, I'm Leftie!"

"I am forced to touch the subway pole everyday!  GROSS!"

Lucky for Leftie, in wintertime I awkwardly give him a layer of protection by covering him with my subway glove (the subway glove is a whole other post my friends .... stay tuned!)  Sometimes I wonder if people question why I only have one glove on while my other hand goes au natural, but really, how much judgment can go down in a place where people urinate on themselves.

But for those summer days, Leftie is left to his own devices because a uni-glove in 100+ degrees heat might make for a funny story for another subway passenger to tell about me, and I don’t play those games.

I’ve seen people blow their nose with a ratty tissue, then switch hands only to then use that same tissue as a barrier to them touching the pole.  Really stranger, you just blew out your boogs in that ratty tissue, and NOW you’re concerned about potential germs from the pole …. I can’t!

There are many reasons that I hate the pole, but topping the list is when you touch the pole and it’s hot, so you just know some gross person probably just stopped touching it right in time for you to get your mitts on there.  That’s when I begin my search for the coldest part of the metal so at least I know the germs aren’t as fresh, but usually this is a fruitless search.

Then there is the very rare, but vile instance when the pole is wet ….

(gross, gross, ewwww, nasty, gross, barf, gross, ewwww, ewwww, gross, ewwww, nasty, barf, gross)

There needs to be a long pause there because it actually makes me feel sick just thinking about it.  It also makes me want to compulsively wash my hands .... like FOREVER (Sandlot style).  Those are the days when I think about if I really, truly need Leftie.  I could just chop him off and leave him on the subway to add to the other horrors that can be found in those tunnels.  If the police found Leftie they would naturally assume that something horrible had happened to me, but I would gladly let them know that my wound was self-inflicted.  I imagine the conversation would go something like this:

Me: “Leftie had to go, officer.”
Officer: “Who the heck is Leftie?!”
Me: “It’s semantics, don’t get caught up in the details.”
Officer: “Do you mean to tell me that you cut off your own hand?”
Me: “Hey, every war has sacrifices, and my hand was collateral damage on the battleground that is the NYC subway system.”

This would likely be the officer’s cue to bring me to the Ostroff Center, but hey, at least I could hang with Serena van der Woodsen.  Girl’s probably got some free time since Gossip Girl ended.

You know you love me, XOXO, Kinda OCD here J


  1. Lmao this is so hilarious/true..."I could just cut him off and leave it in the subway..." Hahaha. I need to reevaluate my life because I've hugged the pole, used two hands, full body lean...I think my face has touched it on a few occasions smh

    Favorite part: searching for the cool part of the pole (this also applies to warm seats) lol...if you don't do this you're just weird

  2. KR-
    I've actually seen a lady pull a white glove out of her purse for this express purpose.