The Bay Area Rapid Transit

…The BART station where I get on in the mornings is always crowded, so I grab one of the fabric handles dangling from the metal poles that run across the ceiling and try to balance my uncoordinated body parts for the 12 minutes it will take to get from here to the office. I can feel people against my back, a tall one literally breathing down my neck. Sometimes someone will have BO, and that bums out the whole train; the smell of underarms travels at warp speed on public transportation. Sometimes I stare at the people sitting who got on at earlier, less popular stations – they don’t have any elbows in their backs and nearly all of them are able to read peacefully all the way there. I hate those people and wish them ill every morning. The BART has a distinctive sound, shrill metal-on-metal as if the infrastructure is so worn down that its bones are missing cartilage and rubbing against one another. Sometimes if I can drown out the noise, I think about how amazing it is that we’re flying underneath the ocean between Oakland and San Francisco. Then it’s time for my stop and I see that actually nothing in this world is all that impressive because the escalator is out. I assume from the smell on my way up too many stairs that it’s because the gears are jammed with homeless piss and shit. I’m not a hand-washer – it dries me out and I guess I’m just gross – but touching any part of the BART station sends me running to the nearest bathroom to scrub off the public plague I imagine lurks on the banisters. Getting back on the train in the evenings is worse because now everyone has stress-sweat from their jobs in finance and tech. At my stop, we pack in like sardines, and just when you’re sure your fellow man wouldn’t be crazy enough to try and fit one more person-sized thing on this train, here comes some asshole with his bicycle…

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