Takin' One for the Team
Since my car was -- due to a few irreparable technical flaws -- unable to pass DC inspection, it was slowly but surely sucking the financial solvency out of me through a series of parking tickets, boots, and the occasional tow. So with great sadness (but no actual lasting regret), I finally sold the valiant piece of shit that had carried my teammates and I on hundreds of tournaments and roadtrips. DC is a pretty easy city to get around in, so I haven't been missing the car all that much over the last few months. The only thing that is tough is getting home to visit the family back in North Jerz. For this, I take the train.
Work has been pretty ridiculous over the last month or so, and I've been absolutely fricken swamped; since I didn't know when i'd be able to leave the office to make the train home, I was forced to put off making a reservation until the last possible minute. This meant that they only train left was the absurdly expensive, not remotely worthwhile, Acela Express train. It makes my wallet scream with pain when I even mention what i had to lay down for a stinking two and a half hour train ride.
If you've never taken a train over Thanksgiving along the DC-Boston corridor, there are few ways to describe how the experience can turn someone against his fellow man. The lines for the train stretch for hundreds of yards, the competition for seats is animalistic, and tempers are always running high. Watching couples try to find two seats together is like watching parents fistfight other parents for the last Cabbage Patch Kid in the toy store. The Acela, for all its shiny new facade, is no goddamned different.
After all the hassle of getting on the train, I had to take a leak from the very second I sat down in my seat...but I was afraid to get up. I didn't feel confident that my seat-mate would have my back if I left, since I started our train relationship off badly by taking too long to get my bag into the overhead bin. This guy would jack me if someone better came along, no doubt.
By the time the guy got off the train in Philladelphia, my bladder was backing urine up into my tear ducts; it was time to hit the head or basically just die. The bathroom on an Acela train is pretty impressive, it's like twice the size of the phone booth they stick you with on the regular cattle cars. Maybe that's what accounts for the difference in price, I dunno. Anyway I was free at last; and if I weren't such a schmuck, the story would be over here.
There's this game on the DC subways that everyone plays at some point, but few people talk about, Metro Game. There are a hundred variations on Metro Game, but the one I'm talking about is where you try to maintain your balance throughout the twists and jolts of an entire ride without having to grab any of the rails to keep yourself from falling. I'm pretty good at Metro Game; so I figured, why not see if I'm so good at it that I can take a gloriously long piss without holding on to the bathroom rails? It was the best idea I'd had in hours.
So I saunter on back into the huge, brightly-lit train bathroom. Without a second's hesistation I unzipped my fly, extracted my urinator, and as soon as things seemed pretty steady, I let fly with about 16 hours of stored-up pee packing enough pressure to strip graffiti off a subway car. Things seemed to be going pretty well for about the first 6 seconds, until the train banked suddenly to the left.
Now, I can understand why some people would think that this stunt was a stupid idea from the beginning. I'm not going to argue that here, but I will admit to two tactical errors that, had they been accounted for, would have prevented the ensuing disaster. First of all, I hadn't counted on my recently-reconstructed knee buckling like that when the train swayed, throwing me against the back wall of the bathroom compartment. Second, if I had adopted a less aggressive stance that didn't require both hands to be locked around my schvontze, I would have been able to stop myself from violently kareening off the back wall to the left, then the right, then the back wall again.
Maybe it was luck, or consummate skill, or whatever, that ensured that I was the only thing not covered in a film of fresh urine, but I prefer not to live in the past. I cleaned the place up and resolutely sulked back to my seat, the stink of defeat all around me.
I'm not sure I should have told anyone this story.