Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WTF Wednesday: Next Stop - Vomit Station

The metro is not the safest, nor the most refined place in Paris, but I wasn't prepared for this week's happenings. (I recently read about the poor girl who was killed by a pick-pocket, pushed on to the tracks. What a tragic story that still gives me the willies.)

I take the train everyday, twice a day. Two different lines, so there's a stop in between... all-told, I chill in the station at least six times a day, which means one thing: More exposure to the crazies that call them home in the winter.

They lay across the benches, and pass out in the stairwells, bref, lounging & smellin' up the joint is where it's at. I'm not completely heartless, but after you've seen hundreds a year the phenomenon becomes less shocking. I don't even get freaked out anymore when they mutter insults at me. (I always have to resist the urge to talk back to the shoe-less man with food stuck in his beard calling me unkempt. Really sir? My hygiene is not up to snuff? I'll run home & jump in the shower for you, but first let me pick that hunk of sandwich from your facial hair.) I was starting to feel pretty proud about mastering the art of ignoring, a true sign of my French integration.

But it was all a ruse. A hoax. A sense of false-security. Life was about to teach me another lesson: just when you think you have things under control, an SDF will inevitably try to yack all over your brand new brown sued boots. (I might be paraphrasing just a smidge.)

I must be some kind of Puke-magnet. In the last 2 days I've seen no less than three vomiters, and all within ten meters of my vomit-sympathetic-person. Perhaps it's my perfume? Perhaps it's my face that's making them retch? Who can say how the minds of the mad function? Whatever the reason, I seem to have a very specific effect on them.

There I was, minding my own effing business when a liter (or possible two) of homeless man lung-butter pours out within ear-shot. Something happened when I heard it. I felt like the world started moving in slow motion. I turned, ever so slowly, already shuddering.

Now, the important part... HEED THESE WORDS READERS...


I don't care if people start running, screaming and babies burst into tears -- just don't. You're going to want to. It's actually worse than a train wreck because you can't always smell those, but the Ode-de-Wine-and-Baguette-Spew was pungent enough to spark my curiosity.

Lord help me, I looked. (And f%#@ me, it was a doozie.)

Oh man did I regret that shit. Even now, the images come back to me in flashes at the oddest times, usually while eating. I don't think I'll ever be the same.

The odd thing, other than watching someone puke that god damn much, was that my horror was not even close to coming to an end. The same series of events occurred at 2 other stations, with 2 other hobos.

Though each had their own particular style of upchuck, each was equally disgusting.

Ahhh.. public transportation. Gotta love it. I wonder if it's the same in other big cities? Am I the only one?



  1. the same thing happened to me when i lived in london. although i never actually saw the action, i'd always have to do a jump out of the way so i dont step on it dance.

  2. Oh man, of course I am not a regular rider, but when I am in Paris (at all times of year) I have never seen this - wowie that is some crazy sh*t!

  3. Drew, let's start a support group. PWA. Puke Whitnesses Anonymous. I know that dance well, it also applies to poop-strewn streets here.

    Andi, your day will come my dear... I'll be here to buy you a consolatory drink to help numb the horror :)

  4. awww yuck! That's totally awful but unfortunately something I too have experienced on the tube here in Lyon...

  5. it's not cute, either you want that ridiculous garbage or not, if you don't want it-- only answer is enforced institutionalization. I'm for it.

    Do citizens have a right- as a routine part of their life-- to hang around the subway and vomit who-knows what kind of infectious crap all over? No.

    I'm a doctor who's worked with the extremely disadvantages for 20 years, literally thousands of them. So I know a little about it.

    You know why it's allowed? Because rich people don't take the subway that much. You don't count.

  6. @piggy - Hey piggy, yeah I think everyone has at some point been witness to the yackness.

    @Alan - Sounds like you have a lot of experience, knowledge and opinions. I think you mistake me for someone serious, & the blog for that matter there buddy. This is a funny, happy, smiley, place, where unicorns and kittens romp around in marshmallow fields, see? And then you come round, and impale the kitten on the unicorn. Le siiiiiiigh.

  7. I was the unlucky rider who always had the fellow who smelled of urine, vomit and feces sit by me on the bus/train, and somehow I still miss public transpo! What is wrong with me?? I did become a professional of holding le!

  8. I want to vomit just reading this. I start a new job on Monday and have to ride the metro. Can't wait for the upchuck...

  9. @golf you are good, managed to get pee, poop AND vomit into one sentence. #myhero

    @linds hmmm wish I had some words of comfort for you... guess all I can say is get a good book, one that sucks you into an imaginary world where public transportation isn't revolting.


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