The Vomit Comet

As I mention on a semi-regular basis on this blog, I live way out in suburbia, but work and (for the most part) play downtown.

Although I’m trying to be more responsible about this, there are times where I’ve stayed out as late as possible, catching the last possible subway without resorting to cabbing it all the way home.

It’s challenging enough dealing with people on public transit during the day – loud voices, annoying personal habits and big, bulky bags, at times packed into buses, streetcars and subway trains.

But in the middle of the night, The Better Way gives way to The Vomit Comet – the nickname given to TTC service at night and the wee hours of the morning. 

It immediately conjures up images of drunken, unruly folks so inebriated they can barely stand – or worse,  when their insides give up the war against alcohol and revolt, causing said drunkards to showcase the contents of their stomachs to  other patrons.

I have somehow avoided witnessing this for myself.*

Until last night.

Two stops into my commute home, a bunch of young guys bounded onto the subway car, making all sorts of noise. Two of them plunked themselves down into the seats just behind me; their friend eased into a two-seater just diagonal from my own, on the other side of the car.

I turned up my iPod as best I could, but I could still hear them. At one point, one of them said something chiding their friend about throwing up somewhere, but I didn’t really pay any attention.

Around the time the train was cruising through Greenwood station, I don’t know WHAT caused me to look up from my book at one point, but I did – and looked over my shoulder.

The guy seated diagonally and across from me had upchucked (if I were to take a wild guess, pizza) into the seat right beside his. His head was bent forward, a long string of mucus just hanging there from his mouth, like a wobbly, gelatinous icicle.

His friends were just whooping and hollering with laughter.

I looked away, not processing what I saw. Then I looked again. Yep, I thought. THAT’s vomit. Time to move.

I should have left the car entirely. But I just moved as far down to the opposite end as I could.

Near the end of my trip, I turned to see if the young dude was still there. He was. And so were his friends – taking pictures of his digestive artwork with their cellphones.

The young guy was still retching as I got off the subway at the end of the line.

I feel sorry for that kid when he finds out what his friends did.

And I feel sorry for whomever had to clean up his mess. 


*By which I mean seeing OTHER people vomit. I was a victim of this once, but I had (a) the luxury of having a subway car to myself and (b) a plastic bag, into which I could deposit – and later dispose of at my final destination – the evidence.