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 13: People who say ‘shh’ to me

Few things irk me more than being told to be quiet by a stranger. Once a man on the Jitney told me and my friend to ‘quiet down’ because we were on the ‘quiet bus.’ He then proceeded to knock back four shots of vodka in ten minutes and pass out with his shirt unbuttoned and beer gut on display. Hey dude: it’s called the ‘quiet bus,’ not the ‘thinly-veiled alcoholic’s mobile nudist retreat.’

Daily Aggravations 1: Table Monopolizers

As a neurotic Jew, I am annoyed by most people, places and things. I started writing a series called “Daily Aggravations” that lived on their own website, but I am going to start featuring each aggravation here from now on – so now, without further ado: daily aggravation NUMBER 1. 

Daily Aggravation 1: Table Monopolizers

To the semi-bald lady in Blade-style sunglasses who monopolizes the same table at Starbucks for eight hours every day and only gets a cup of water to drink: I want to punch you in the mouthpiece, for real. And then maybe flip a table for dramatic effect.

In which Caroline discusses an interaction with a stranger in Maryland.

This weekend, after driving down to Maryland (read: sitting in the backseat of the car like a grandmother for over five hours), I was absolutely desperate for a cigarette. While we were checking into the hotel we were staying at, I noticed a little sign to the right of the front desk advertising a “smoking oasis” that was available to guests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – so I excused myself and set out to find this magical place. I imagined it as a tropical paradise, replete with palm trees, frozen drinks and glistening, shirtless men just waiting to feed me grapes in between drags.

Of course, since I was in Maryland and not Kauai or Ancient Greece, the “smoking oasis” turned out to be a 10′ wide pen off of the lobby, and instead of being greeted by a glistening, shirtless man, I was greeted by a sunburnt slob from outside of Philly who looked like a blobfish (see: http://cheeseluvr14.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/blobfish1.jpg).

I wasn’t planning on initiating a conversation with him. I figured I’d just suck the cigarette down as fast as I could, not make eye contact, and then be on my merry way. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my lighter, and after watching me rummage desperately through my Mary Poppins bag for a solid two minutes, he finally asked me if I needed a light.

Once he’d spoken to me/loaned me his lighter, I couldn’t really ignore him anymore – so I initiated some trivial small talk with him…that is, until he decided to take control of the conversation and tell me that he’d ‘been out drinking all night’ and ‘didn’t know how [he] was even standing up.’

Now, I wouldn’t necessarily tell someone I’d just met that I was at the tail end of a bender, but clearly this guy was looking for a little companionship, so I figured I’d humor him. He then proceeded to tell me that he was about to go back upstairs to his dinky little hotel room and start pounding Jagerbombs because he was going to watch the UFC fight at the Hooters down the road that night and he wanted to be in the right “mindspace” for it.

What the what? Why on earth would someone schlep all the way down to Maryland, of all places, to get shitty in a business hotel room and watch a UFC fight at Hooters? Can someone please enlighten me? This guy was totally more depressing than I thought he was. And his face so red! And his chin so weak! I mean, DAMN. This guy was a hot mess.

Finally, at long last, I finished my cigarette and we parted ways – but for some weird reason, I can’t stop thinking about him.

The moral of this story is that I think it’s time for me to quit smoking.