Daily Aggravation 53: Public Denture Removal

The other day on the 6 train downtown, I sat across from a woman whose shrunken face and whopping height of 3’2″ made it obvious that she was 180 years old. Her eyes contained centuries of wisdom, but apparently, none of that wisdom pertained to how to act on a New York City subway.

At first, all she did was eat sunflower seeds – so many sunflower seeds. I was wondering what she was doing with the shells; they seemed to disappear as soon as she spat them out, which, quite honestly, I was thankful for. Then, I turned to my right, where I spotted a gaggle of young, Italian tourists all staring in the general direction of the old woman with their mouths agape. Clearly, something of note was going on with her –  and it turned out to be the most disgusting act I’ve ever seen on the subway (and I was born and raised here).

The old woman had removed her dentures, leaving a puckered, anus-like hole in place of the normal-looking mouth she’d just had, and was proceeding to suck and lick her dentures clean. I honestly didn’t even know what to do with myself besides continue to stare at her, trying to figure out how to make sense of this horrific display.

It was then that I caught the eye of a younger gentleman, who broke into a big grin and whispered to me, “Disgusting, just disgusting,” in a thick accent, referring to our friend, the immortal pig. Turning to my left, I saw that a middle-aged man was absolutely dying with silent laughter; tears were rolling down his face as he tried to contain himself. The Italian tourists got in on the fun, too, as did a beautiful young teenager who was, unfortunately, sitting right next to the old woman as she worked her dentures like this was her last meal for the next six months. We all grinned at each other, totally horrified but bonding through mutual disgust.

At long last, we arrived at my stop, and I got off the train, both utterly scarred and glowing with the satisfaction I get from having real, human interactions with strangers on the subway. We may have the weirdest people in the world living here, but damn, do I love this city.

 

Daily Aggravation 52: Having to Work Past Your Prime

I think I had the somewhat dubious honor of being the passenger of the oldest cab driver in New York City today. My initial fears about his competency were confirmed when I said, “I’m going to 78th and Madison,” and his response was a confident “78th and York!” 

My first thought was, ‘Well, maybe he just didn’t hear me,’ because I’m sorry, but there is NO accent or weird moment that could make ‘Madison’ sound even remotely like ‘York.’ Then I thought, ‘Oh, God. What if he just has no memory left? Now I have to spend the whole time worrying that my cab driver is going to forget how to drive while we’re crossing Central Park.’ Luckily, we got home just fine, and after shouting and repeating directions about where to pull up and let me off, I was out of the cab and on my merry way.

It is a grave injustice that my extremely elderly cab driver is still needing to work at 154. Sounds to me like someone danced with the devil in the pale moonlight!

Daily Aggravation 51: Unwieldy Rollerbladers

I experienced a new level of disgust and irritation today when I was peacefully walking down the sidewalk, headphones in, and almost got mowed down by a frizzy-haired, middle-aged woman on rollerblades. She came out of nowhere, staggering quickly towards me in an unwieldy fashion like she was doing an old-timey slapstick routine. From her helmet, ankle/knee/wrist/elbow guards and mouthpiece, I could tell that she had invested a good amount of money in looking so embarrassingly stupid and neurotic. Her socks, which looked like they were thigh-highs that had been bunched up and then pulled down, were neon yellow and glowing in the sunlight.

At the last minute, she made a sharp turn and headed across the street in the other direction, her arms flailing as she just barely maintained control over her portly body. A delivery guy on a bike and I watched her leave, and as he turned to me, we shared a look that said, “Hey, bitch – it’s 1:00pm, the sun is out, and we can see you too fucking well already. Next time, leave the day-glo socks at home.”

Daily Aggravation 50: Instagram Activists

People are close to rioting in the streets because Instagram wants to claim ownership of their photographs, and I’m having a hard time getting behind their rage. Seriously, what photos are people posting that warrant this kind of self-entitled ire? All I ever see on that website are pictures of kale salads and ugly feet at the beach.

I’ve got news for you, everyone on Instagram: nobody gives a fuck about the sunset you saw from the window of the Denny’s on the interstate, and we couldn’t care less that you tried on a zany hat that you didn’t even BUY. Also, your dog may be cute, but we don’t need real-time updates about his bathroom habits, and finally, WE GET IT, you have friends. Am I supposed to congratulate you on not being Boo Radley?

How about instead of getting so uppity about something so trivial, you delete your fucking Instagram and devote your activist energy to something that isn’t, oh, I don’t know, COMPLETELY self-serving? Kthanksbye.

Daily Aggravation 49: People Who Wear Santa Hats

What’s with people who casually wear Santa hats for the whole month of December? Unless you’re an actual elf who is employed by Santa himself, there is no reason to top off your outfit with a cheap, felt Santa hat, you festive douche. And if you are an actual elf, why the fuck are you dilly-dallying around in NYC when there are presents to be wrapped up North? I’m pretty sure you elves aren’t covered under the “Right-to-Work” law, so get the hell out of here and go do your job.

Daily Aggravation 48: Theater Kids

Even though I’m in my mid-twenties now, I still have a strong aversion to people who were known as ‘theater kids’ in high school. Don’t get me wrong – I love creative people, and I have a lot of respect for anyone who can get on stage and perform in front of an audience. There’s a certain kind of creative person, though, that annoys me to no end. You know the type – they always have to be the center of attention, they wear Porkpie hats without any trace of irony or sense of humor, and they enjoy playing improv games at parties. They’re JUST the WORST. 

I had an encounter with a theater kid recently in a clothing store. An Etta James song started playing on the radio, and a girl with a Caesar cut, a nose piercing and vaguely orthopedic shoes on started singing along to it like she was auditioning for “A Chorus Line.” I wanted to turn to her and say, “Excuse me, bitch, but you’re making my eardrums bleed with your overly-confident, loud warbling. I don’t see Simon Cowell in the store with us, do you? No, right? Then SHUT your DAMN MOUTH and get the hell out of here! And PS: Linda Hunt called, and she wants her look back.” 

Daily Aggravation 47: Drunk People

I rarely go to bars. I don’t like the taste of alcohol, and resultantly, I have the tolerance of a flea. After two beers, I start to feel queasy and hot, and almost every time I “go out,” I end up doing that embarrassing thing where you order a pint of water at the bar and then excuse yourself to go home and take a nap on the bathroom floor (just me? Okay then). 

Moreover, I can’t stand drunk people. There are few things more tedious and irritating than having to listen to someone loudly theorize about dumb shit like how her version of the color blue could be my version of the color red. Drunk people spit on you and shout, and eventually they stagger out of the bar with a mint-green face and barf on the sidewalk while you’re trying to hail a cab. 

I know this from personal experience. When I lived in Scotland, there was a bar on the town’s main street called The Keys. This place was a SERIOUS “locals pub,” meaning that its clientele consisted exclusively of decrepit, cirrhotic old men who hated university students like me. Once I saw an 80-year-old gentleman in a tattered coat stagger out of The Keys at 2pm on a Monday and projectile vomit against a wall, and I still count that as one of the grossest and most depressing things I’ve ever seen. 

The question is, though, where do young people hang out if not in bars? I wish bookstores would replace bars as the places to go when you want to let loose on a Saturday night. Who’s with me?