A rambling collection of god-knows-what tales involving trains, philadelphia and human feces.
by Joseph Walter
While I sit here and uncomfortably feel my mouth water, I was inspired to recall some of the other strange experiences I've encountered during my many adventures on the train.
According to my good friend and skilled architect, Dan, trains are the best thing in the world. Money? Sex? Drugs? Power? They take a back seat to Thomas and Co.
I met Dan a ways into my Freshman year of college. He was in the dorm room next to mine and was a late arrival. His mysterious roommate, "Mudiwa Mundararara" never showed up (and, according to the legends we concocted about him, perhaps it's better that he did not.)
One thing about Dan that was readily apparent, aside from his love of Dungeons and Dragons and Nintendo 64, was his religion-level adoration of trains.
As a kid, I was a major fan of Thomas the Tank Engine and trains in general, so I could relate. Dan's lifelong obsession with what is, in his opinion, the ultimate form of mass transportation was something that was utterly fascinating about this old-fashioned rascal and often the butt of jokes. But either way, this guy loves them, and whether you want to hear about it or not, he's going to tell you about everything that you could possibly imagine that has to do with railed transportation.
Thanks to Dan, I've sort of rekindled my childhood enjoyment of trains, and now have a whole new appreciation for them. Simultaneously, I've paid more and more attention to not just the trains when I ride them, but the (sometimes stinky) people I ride them with.
During my Junior year of college, I worked at a photography studio on South St. for what Drexel calls "Co-Op," which is basically an internship… but I really can't explain why it's not, if it's even different at all (Somewhere, John Fry has just unleashed a Drexel Dragon to airstrike my train at this very moment)
Either way, I took the subway to and from work during the week. And the things I heard. And wished I did not hear.
If you've spent any time with me in person, you'll know I have very conflicted feelings about Philadelphia. It has many aspects that I enjoy or should enjoy, but for whatever reason, it never really works and I end up strongly disliking it.
A large part of my dislike stems from the people. "The City of Brotherly Love" this ain't.
The snippets of conversations I've heard include casual sentences of "yo man, I really want to rape tonight," to the crusty-eyed man begging quietly "dude, it's just crack. Just give me a little more. Please."
And then there are the guys that are so devoted to their music of choice that they must share it with the world, doing all of our ears a favor by blasting their exceptional taste in music out of the crystal-clear speakers of their iPhone 3GS. Thank you, my friend, for blessing my infidel ears with your music! Thank you!
I've seen ratchet mothers throw their toddlers into the hard, plastic seats and stuff their faces with what could only be considered dry, synthetic cereal.
I even saw one woman shove her thumb down her kids throat as some kind of punishment.
That shit makes me sick.
I've heard all manner of religious preachers, and even seen two of them with conflicting views going at it in what can only be described as Super Smash Bible.
I've also had the unfortunate encounter of an extremely poor man, afflicted with what was probably a demon, curl up into a ball, scream, and relieve himself from every below-the-belt orifice.
These poor trains. These poor people.
Insane stuff, man.
….. this was way darker than I thought it would turn out to be. I was intending to tell tales about the time the guy whose eyes were redder than the devil's dick and who reeked of a weed-forest burning down made eye-contact with a cop and then started shaking, or about the time Dan asked if I wanted to do nothing all day but ride in the front of the subway car and go from end-of-line to end-of-line (which we did end up doing, mostly)
Instead, I've told tales of the human detritus witnessed every day, to and from work, while sitting next to a man who is possibly buttermilk incarnate.
Here's my favorite engine from Thomas to cheer ya'll up.