Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Tightest Spot Yet

Disclaimer: For those of you easily skeezed out, this is not the post to read. If it wasn't for Dan's insistence, I would not have posted it. He thinks it is one of the funniest things to happen to me to date in Belgium, which makes me question not only his sense of humor, but whether he truly cares about me at all! Don't say I didn't warn you ... it's disgusting!

I have a love/hate relationship with public transportation. From a save-the-environment, reduce CO2 emissions sort of way, I love that I rely on public transportation. As someone that rides public transportation, I hate it, and not in the "I hate it because I'm a princess" sort of way, but more the, "I hate it because truly freaky things happen to me while on it" sort of way. Trust me, there is a difference.

To get to my French class, I have to take the metro to the Parc stop and then transfer to either tram 93 or 94 to Vleurgat, which means that I spend at least 20 minutes on the tram --- that's a whole lot of opportunity for something weird to happen.

The other day, I jumped on the tram at the Parc. Every seat was taken, but there was plenty of standing room. I grabbed a spot directly behind the driver's booth, next to the little orange box where you validate your tickets. I was facing the rest of the tram (my back to the driver), at the start of the aisle. There was a guy to my right, inside the little cubby space between the first seat and the driver's booth. The door to the tram was on my left.

We got to the Palais stop (the very next stop) and about 10 people shoved their way on -- pushing me into the little cubby space with the guy. I was still facing the rest of the people in the tram, but now I was tightly jammed into the cubby space, with a plexi-glass partition in front of me separating me from the first seated passenger, the tram window on my right, and the guy now directly behind me, also facing the rest of the tram.

As the tram jostled and shook, we alternated between me backing into him and him pushing me into the plexi-glass divider in front of me. Every time I was shoved into him, I turned my head (which was the only thing on my body I could move in the confined space) and apologized to the window. I could see from the reflection in the window, that he was staring out the window and not even looking at me, much less paying attention to my apologies.

As the train jerked its way toward the Arts Museum, I kept feeling something poking me in the butt. I thought it was the guy's hands, but when the tram lurched and he put both his hands on the plexi-glass divider in front of me to brace himself (one hand on either side of me), I realized that I had horribly miscalculated as to what it was poking me in the rear! I desperately tried to move sideways, closer to the door, to get away from this "uncomfortable" situation, but there was simply no room. Every time I tried to move sideways into the aisle, I got shoved back by a sea of people.

When we reached the stop by the Arts Museum, even though the tram was well beyond maximum capacity, it did not stop this one little lady from pushing her way on. Surprisingly, the people that were standing in the doorway and at the front of the aisle (where I had been standing before being shoved into the cubby hole) started parting so that she could get by. I was shocked as I have never seen anyone that polite on the tram, much less a group of them.

It wasn't until the lady had worked her way to within a couple of people from me that I could tell why she was getting so much deference -- the woman stank to high-heaven! Seriously, something crawled into this woman and died and was now trying to work its way back out. And, of course, the lady was headed straight towards me! She wedged herself between me and the orange box, facing the driver's booth.

I'm not sure if it was Ms. Stinky or Mr. Happy, but the longer and the rougher the tram ride got, the more skeezed out I became. Finally, I had totally mentally grossed myself out to the point where I had to vomit. The only problem was that there was no room for me to throw up! In front of me was a glass partition, to the right of me was a glass window, there was not enough room for me to turn and throw up on Mr. Happy, and if I turned and threw up on Ms. Stinky, then I was sure to hit my entire left side, along with my computer bag hanging at my feet.

So, I ended up throwing up in my mouth, which I then had to swallow, which started another vicious cycle of gagging/swallowing. Finally, I caught my breath enough to scream that I had to get off the tram!

Yes, riding public transportation is a real uplifting experience.

©2007 by Cindy Lane. All rights reserved.

5 Comments:

Blogger WingfieldsInBrussels said...

Oh my goodness Cindy!!! I rode public transportation for a year and a half before we got a car. I feel a little weird that we have had the car for six months and I still tell everyone how much I love the car. But now after being reminded of the horrors of pt, I don't feel so bad about gushing my love of travelling alone.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Elana said...

You poor thing! Yes, Dan is one sick puppy! I'm sending you some vomit bags STAT! Maybe Mr. Happy saw you the day before with your tights down by your ankles? :)

3:04 AM  
Anonymous Manic said...

OMG! I'll say it again to emphasize my opinion. OMG!

There, I said it.

9:39 AM  
Blogger woman wandering said...

I don't think there's anything I can say ... well maybe, never move to Istanbul. It might break this run of 'interesting' experiences but you can't afford for them to get worse.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

It doesn't happen often but I'm SPEECHLESS.

10:40 PM  

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