Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul adopts some unusual tactics to help Chef overcome his subway nightmare.
As wonderful as it is to live in a city where I rely on public transportation for mobility, there are many things about the New York subway that cause me grief. Rats running around on the track don’t bother me. Neither does trains making all local stops—as long as I have reading material and don’t need to pee (not as easy as it sounds since I also have to plan last-minute bathroom breaks before heading underground).
Over time, I’ve learned to manage my subway issues. When an empty A-train pulls into the 181st street station, I know to run quickly to the next car down. Why? Because there’s probably a stinky homeless person inside the abandoned car. When it’s pouring down rain, I know to check the seats for dampness. Why? I’ve suffered through one-too-many pairs of embarrassing wet trousers.
But my subway fears pale in comparison to Chef’s. He comes unglued whenever he sees someone eating onboard. He makes a face, changes seats, and then can’t stop looking at them—like he’s rubber necking at the scene of a car accident. The type of food doesn’t matter—from PowerBars to McDonald’s fries—Chef is offended by it all.
Last week, he rolled his eyes at a young woman devouring a sandwich across the aisle from us. I felt sympathy for her.
“Maybe she works two jobs and has no other time to eat,” I said.
“That kind of thinking devalues the importance of food,” he replied a bit sanctimoniously. I decided that wasn’t the time to get out my peanut butter snack.
To help out Chef, I’ve created a program to desensitize him to his subway nightmare: rub his face in it. In the past few weeks, whenever I encounter a food violation underground, I snap a picture of it and send it to Chef. After emailing him a pic of a lady with fake nails, fur, and hair extensions chowing down on sushi, Chef messaged me back.
“I went into convulsions like Mindy McCready on Celebrity Rehab.”
That made me smile. I was getting somewhere. And my TV boyfriend Dr. Drew would be proud. After all, facing your nightmare is the first step, right?