Riding That Train… Germaphobe Jones Better Watch Her Speed

February was a long, travel filled, slightly angst ridden month for me.  One particular late winter day had been longer than most – a wake before dawn to catch a flight back to DC, work all day and finally take a breath round 8pm kinda long day.  Boarding the Metro train early evening, I was disappointed in not getting a seat for my four stop ride.  At least the train wasn’t sardine crowded, I thought.   My hand was one of the three deliberately anonymous hands wrapped around a pole for stability.

At the second station a bespectacled brunette boarded at the same end of the train.  As we moved from stop to speed, this woman widened her stance in an effort to balance against the sometimes herky-jerky train movements.  The woman to my left shifted slightly to make even more room for the new woman to enter our little circle and reach the pole.  She gave a friendly smile as she did.  The solo stander held firm in her outsider position even if she was wobbly on her feet.

As we left the third station, the woman to my right leaned forward and said “You don’t have to Metro Surf; there’s room here for you.”

“Excuse me” the train surfer said… as she wobbled a bit more.

“You don’t need to stand on your own, there’s plenty of space here.”

The train surfer suddenly uncapped a rant about disease, and how she’d rather risk falling than “touch that germy thing especially this year with all of the different strains of influenza.”  The mini diatribe lasted about a minute.

Maybe it was the patently ridiculous notion that we are somehow more fragile than our forbearers, or the general hilarity of someone so insanely germaphobic that she seems like an SNL character, or maybe it was the selfishness in her willingness to risk the safety of the other people on the train as she was far more likely to fall into someone else than she was to catch anything that hand washing couldn’t prevent, but for whatever reason this inflamed my sensibilities.

I went against my usual findawaytoconfrontdiscomfort tendencies but my response wasn’t calculated… just the instinctual reaction of a fatigue addled brain.  As the train stopped, I gave her a good look, removed my hand from the pole and made a big showy lick of my palm.

As I exited the train, I glanced at my pole mates. They could barely contain their laughter…

…and then I went to buy some Listerine for a quick gargle*.

* no need to tell me that the mouthwash wasn’t going to do much, and no, I didn’t get sick.

By the by, I received an email update from Afraid of Unrequited.  She took some of my advice, some of LiLu’s advice, and stepped in a couple of the traps about which we both warned her.  Full details coming soon.


17 Responses to Riding That Train… Germaphobe Jones Better Watch Her Speed

  1. k8 says:

    That is so totally something I would do. I lick my fork after it falls on the floor at a restaurant just to gross people out. I’m a stronger woman for it.

    Eggs-zackly. When did we get so fucking soft as a nation?

  2. Shannon says:

    That is awesome. You know what would have been even more awesome? If you’d followed it up by sneezing on her.

    If I could have thought that quickly, and could sneeze on command, I would have… well probably not, as I would have thought that a bit too cruel. However, pretending to almost sneeze would have been exceedingly funny.

  3. rahree says:

    My. Hero.

    Aww shucks, Ma’am, you’re making me blush.

  4. Bravo! That was really the only proper response.

    Also, I’m a bit chagrined to see that “metro surf” was only added to Urban Dictionary in 2007. I’ve been using it since aught-four and an Urban Dictionary addict since the early days. I should have sunk my flag in ‘er.

    Wait. Wait. That came out wrong. Point still stands, though.

    As much as I think it has become horrifically cliché, I am pretty confident that this is a “that’s what she said” moment.

  5. magnolia2010 says:

    hahahahaha… LOVE. IT. best metro story ever. 🙂

    Thank you, uh, thank ya' very much (only funny if read in Elvis accent.)

  6. Oh, how I wish I was there to witness you do that. It would have been the best laugh I’ve had in awhile.

    I laughed pretty damn hard.

  7. notsojenny says:

    Nice. people are crazy about this stuff… doesn’t anyone remember God Made Dirt: Dirt Don’t Hurt

    Not that long ago parents smoked around their kids, moms drank and smoked while pregnant, seat belts were largely optional, and we all rode bicycles without helmets. I am not endorsing those rather irresponsible behaviors, but for the love of bacon, can we all toughen’ up a bit.

  8. metroadlib says:

    i am, quite literally, giving you THE *blankest stare EVER*. Can you feel it? Can you feel the intensity of THE *blankest stare EVER*? I just didn’t want your face to suddenly go numb and have you attribute it to the Hep C you, no doubt, contracted the other day. No, no. that’s just the intensity from my *blankest stare EVER*.

    And I like half-smokes from the hot-dog cart too.

  9. brad says:

    I get it; I do.

    But I’ll never forget the day I saw a man with a viciously bloody nose on the train. It surprised even him, in the moment. His response? He wiped as much of it as he could on his hands and then smeared it onto a pole, with no hesitation. Red streaks of blood everywhere.

    You are braver than me.

    If I had seen that, I might bring latex gloves with me everywhere.

  10. Lemon Gloria says:

    LOVE! I love you for this! I would pay money to see this in action.


    Can’t we all just take a deep breath.

  11. […] Fellow DC Blogs contributing editor Restaurant Refugee demonstrates one method of dealing with germaphobes on the Metro. […]

  12. Gilahi says:

    Terrific. Gotta wonder how she gets in and out of public buildings if she won’t touch a doorknob.

    I appreciate the Grateful Dead allusion as well.

    I bet she’s one of those people who opens doors with her shirt tail or something.

  13. lacochran says:

    Like my neighbors who won’t let their kids go barefoot outside. Whaaaaa…??

    It offends me. I, too, wonder at what we have done to ourselves. Whatever happened to: That which does not kill me makes me stronger?

    Still… I admit that I’m not likely to lean my head against a Metro window. Too many greasy spots there already. Ew.

    I won’t lean my head against those windows either, completely with you on that score.

  14. Scientifically speaking, we need germs. Logically speaking, she needs medication. Nicely done, RR.

    Hahahahaha, yeah, medication would be at the top of what I imagine to be a rather lengthy list of her needs.

  15. citygirlblogs says:

    Brilliant! I like the blend of carefree abandon and devil may care attitude that you exhibited. If I had been on the train, I would have laughed hysterically before licking your hand.

    And I had I great reply in my head and then I got stuck on the visual of you licking things.

  16. Grace says:

    haha! This made my morning. Thank you for the laugh. I needed it.

  17. holy crap says:

    I may go around doing that just to freak people out.

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