Monday, July 31, 2006

Subway Nuts

What better way to kick off a Monday morning than with a story of someone who's crazier than you are? (And, of course, some fun facts about subway shodding!)

I was waiting for the 1 train last night at 86th Street, probably around 1am or so. The mental degradation of those waiting with me appeared to be in proportion to the distance they had managed to stray from the turnstiles (writer excepted, naturally). A moustached man in a black, floral shirt, very short shorts, and sandals sat at one end of a bench, legs crossed; another, seemingly complicit, slouched at the opposite end. I heard moustache talking from the beginning, but then, I finally started listening:
"You see, every time a train goes by, it's shedding steel. You know, steel wheels on steel tracks. And it just shreds. Then, it goes into the air, and gets pushed up by, you know, air pressure. And we're here, breathing steel. You think breathing steel is good? Oh no. I don't think so. It's so toxic, deadly. And there's no ventilation down here. We're breathing steel! You breathe it in, and it just stays. So toxic! And this is all totally documented. You know, other trains, they have rubber wheels, like in London, but not here. No, we get steel wheels. Steel wheels on steel tracks. So toxic. And every time the train goes by..."
This constitutes the core motif on which the entire ten-or-so minute speech was based. Simply separate the various elements, reorder, and slightly vary the exact word choice and phrasing. Repeat until dazed. You pretty much got it cold.

I had the fact checkers look into this looney notion of rubber wheels on subway cars. To my surprise, he's not completely out to lunch on this one. Rubber tires were first seen in the Paris Metro, but only used presently on several lines. Mexico City uses them on all but one of its lines, but the only fully rubber-tired Metro system is that of Montreal. London has never seen them. (Ouch!) Sadly, the reasons for using rubber tires have nothing to do with the deadly risks of steel inhalation, but are, instead, because rubber "...permits a quieter ride for both the passengers and for buildings above the tracks; it also makes it easier for trains to climb slopes." (Montreal Metro FAQ) Other bits of wisdom imparted above can be found here and here on Wiki, and in this Montreal Gazette article. Who knew!?

4 Comments:

Anonymous YDizzle said...

You see, every time a train goes by, it's shedding rubber. You know, rubber wheels on steel tracks. And it just shreds. Then, it goes into the air, and gets pushed up by, you know, air pressure. And we're here, breathing rubber. You think breathing rubber is good? Oh no. I don't think so. It's so toxic,...

7:05 AM  
Blogger David said...

you see, every time I put on my pants, they're shedding cotton. COTTON...

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Ben M said...

Every time you take OFF your pants, you're shedding cotton...

3:56 PM  
Blogger David said...

Touché!

4:12 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home