Saturday, April 04, 2009

Biohazards Please!

"Sorry dude!" Said the passenger, now showing me his thumb which was dripping with blood. "I sliced it at work today and it won't stop bleeding." I looked down at the ticket he'd just handed me, still not comprehending his apology. There, between my index finger and thumb, lay a crimson colored piece of paper. It was the size and shape of a powder blue Metro North ticket, but streaks of plasma had left it unrecognizable.

"Where are you going today?" I asked curtly, not trying to mask my annoyance.

"New Rochelle." He answered with a shrug of his shoulders.

"Ugggh!" I grumbled in disgust.
I ran for the bottle of Purell hand sanitizer that I keep in my railroad bag and squirted several droplets into my palms. While vigorously rubbing my hands together, I thought about Bill, a germaphobic coworker who collects tickets in latex gloves, a practice I once thought of as eccentric, but now think of as ingenious.

I wish I could say that this disgusting episode was unique, but I can't. For example; I frequently catch passengers holding tickets in their mouths. Sometimes they'll go as far as using them as dental floss, spending the better part of the ride mining molars for forgotten bits of a $200 business lunch and then handing me a ticket covered in spit and shreds of steak tartar.

Frequently, I spy someone coughing or sneezing into their ticket. They act as if nothing untoward has happened and try to pass their mucus covered ticket to me. I'll usually hold up my hand and say something like: "Today's your lucky get to keep that ticket as a souvenir."

A passenger on my morning train passes his time by picking his nose and then eating it. Every morning it's the same thing, picking...eating, eating...picking, picking...eating. Luckily, he has a monthly commutation ticket and there's no hand to ticket contact between us. If he ever forgets his pass...he gets a free ride.

A few years back, on a hot August afternoon, a young man boarded my train in his high school basketball uniform. "Tickets please!" I asked, as I watched droplets of sweat pour down his face. "One minute" he said. He then reached down for his size 13 Air Jordans. I waited as he slowly untied his shoe, took it off and reached inside for his ticket. Once retrieved he proudly displayed a sweat soaked ticket. It drooped in his fingers, looking as soggy and limp as a cornflake left in day old milk. "You can't be serious" I said. "Sorry man," he said with a smile, "Ain't got no pockets."

There is an upside to this story. Because of all this bacterial exposure, I believe I've built up immunity and I rarely get sick. I guess that's what happens when you work in a Petri dish.


Stamford Talk said...

All I can say is eww!
And, do women ever pull tickets out of their cleavage?

Bobby said...

Funny you should mention that. I was going to mention how women always pull tickets out of their bras, but then I figured it wouldn't fall under "biohazard" (not for me at least). Also...I didn't want to sound too pervy.

Cassey said...

Wow....the blood one would be the worst! I could handle a sneezy or coughy ticket, I think, and a sweaty one, while gross, is nowhere near as dangerous as a bloody one! That's HORRIBLE!

sandi shelton said...

See? This is what makes your blog so wonderful! You tell us things we NEVER would have thought of, and even the disgusting things people do are fascinating when you tell the stories!

And thanks for coming by my blog and leaving such nice comments. Also--I never see you on the train anymore! Do you honestly still work there?