Ruling the Rails

I was extra large late to work one morning last week because the train on which I was riding sat, unmoving, inside the tunnel between Church Street and Van Ness stations for a good long time for reasons that I'll almost certainly never know. Rather than spend that time stuck underground remembering all of the reasons why taking public transit can super duper suck, however, I chose to make some mother-effing lemonade and write down a bunch of the wonderful memories that I've made over the course of my eleven years riding the rails. Said memories can be found below.

  1. At least once a month I make eye contact with someone on the train who looks vaguely familiar to me and after racking my brain I almost always realize that I've slept with them. My once-a-month awkward-eye-lock for November 2015 actually happened today. I don't remember his name but I do remember dirty sheets and a staggering number of VHS tapes.
  2. I once saw a vampire on a Manhattan-bound A-C train. I was in college and no, I wasn't high. I saw his teeth and he was definitely a vampire. I swear to god on my Bible signed by Jesus.
  3. I saw Steve Buscemi on a Brooklyn-bound 2-3 train in the spring of 2006. Also, maybe it was Paul Rudd. Also, maybe it was my roommate who saw him. I can't remember. It doesn't matter. Let's move on.
  4. The first time that I ever saw my partner Bevan was on a Castro-bound F train. I was delivering a microwave oven to my then-company's corporate apartment and he was making eyes at me over a newspaper that he was pretending to read. I had initially thought that he was just some run-of-the-mill transit perv, but a few weeks later I saw his face on a billboard or in the paper or something and realized that he was, indeed, some run-of-the-mill transit perv, but that he also happened to be running for Mayor of San Francisco. (Note: We didn't actually "meet" until almost a year later. It was at the gay Oscar party of a mutual friend of ours and Bevan ignored me all night because he thought that I was "some straight guy".)
  5. My college roommate Sonny, whose parents own and operate a soy sauce factory in Chicago, vomited hot chocolate through his fingers all over an Uptown-bound A-C train car during rush hour on our way to orientation after a night spent drinking illegally in the Lower East Side with the older brother of two of my best friends from middle school (they were, and still are, twins). Our other roommate Chris, whose now-defunct band How I Became A Pirate once played a gig at CBGB, and I tried to cover up the vom with discarded pages from a free newspaper called Metro. We couldn't stop laughing and everybody hated us a lot.
  6. One time on Halloween weekend in college I threw up between two train cars in the wee hours of the morning whilst wearing a Harry Potter "costume" (died hair, a black graduation gown and a floor mop from the kitchen of my Brooklyn Heights apartment) after being treated to bottle service at a club in the Meatpacking District courtesy of some bro-sif who wanted to bang with (sex) my then-roommate Danielle (see number fourteen for more of her).
  7. I puked up mostly water inside of an N-R train car during a late-morning hangover ride back to Brooklyn from a friend's apartment in Union Square following a night spent consuming forties on a park bench downtown. When I finally realized what was happening it was too late to do anything about it and, to be honest, I was way too hung over to care. The car cleared out pretty quickly at the next stop but I stayed put because I knew that I deserved it.
  8. A grown man once very loudly accused me of purposely rubbing up against his girlfriend on a jam-packed downtown-bound A-C train. Looking back now I should have said something like, "Nice try, dude. I'm gaaaaayyyyy!" but I wasn't out yet so I just stood there trying not to cry.
  9. I took a picture of my mom on a train in Rome once. We were on our way back to the hotel after spending a perfect afternoon shopping near the Vatican. She seemed annoyed when I pulled out my phone and said "Say cheese!" but I took her picture anyway and I'm glad I did.
  10. One time, and I can't believe this memory made it so far down the list, my parents and six of my aunts and uncles were visiting me in college and we were making our way down to the trains in Grand Central Station when a teenage girl who was dancing with a group of subway performers collapsed. Her heart had stopped and my nurse aunt kept her alive until the paramedics arrived (big ups, Aunt Deb S.). I know that that sounds like some faux Reader's Digest-kind of shit, but it really happened and the girl is still alive today. We actually became buds after I visited her in the hospital. A few years later she was on a reality singing show on the WB called The Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious and in the music video for "Whip My Hair" by Will Smith's daughter Willow. Also, if memory serves me correctly, I think that my aunt got an award from then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for her heroics.
  11. I can pretty clearly recall riding the "L" around the Loop in Chicago after leaving work late one night in the fall of 2008 and seeing, between the gaps in the buildings, thousands of people cramming into Grant Park for Barack Obama's victory speech after he was elected president. I remember it feeling like a special moment and wishing that I'd won a ticket to the event.
  12. Out of boredom I once wrote my own obituary on an interurban commuter train from South Bend, Indiana to Chicago. Young Corey had big dreams. The obit can be found here.
  13. I was twice stuck for six or more hours on Amtrak trains, once Indiana-bound from Penn Station in New York City because of a coal malfunction or something of the like and once on my way home to Michigan from Union Station in Chicago because the train ahead of us couldn't make it up a hill so a crew had to be bussed in from Chicago to help take it up piece by piece. My parents were parked at the destination station waiting to pick me up and ended up having to sleep in their car overnight. Also, my mom called Amtrak and said that her son was stuck on the train without food and so they gave out free snacks to everyone on board.
  14. Lastly, my college roommate Danielle and I found ourselves on an empty J train once and we absolutely lost our shit. We skipped around and hung from the bars and and sang and just acted like humongous idiots until someone else boarded a few stops later. Below is proof.